James Jones hangs out with summer campers
MIAMI (AP) -- "Are you LeBron James?" No, but I wish, Miami Heat guard-forward James Jones explained good naturedly to a group of summer campers Thursday.
Jones spoke to about 80 summer campers in the city's Little Haiti neighborhood, fielding impromptu questions and occasional high-pitched squeals of delight after announcing he would sign autographs. His young fans asked: What shoe size do you wear? Who are your enemies? And do you fight with your teammates?
His shoes are size 17, he has no enemies, he can chuck a basketball from half-court and he can usually talk his teammates down from an argument. He also confirmed he would be back next season to help the team defend its national title, even though he has in the past raised the possibility of retiring.
The 31-year-old even brought one fan on stage and taught him a secret handshake and joked Heat teammate Mario Chalmers would be upset for showing an outsider.
Jones, a South Florida native who graduated from the University of Miami, had made his appearance to surprise an 11-year-old foster child with a personal invitation to attend his summer camp, but the boy was sick and couldn't attend.
Jones hosts a yearly summer camp for foster kids, saying he can relate to some of the problems they face because he grew up with a single mom for a time.
Camp for Champions, which starts next week, will include sports and leadership activities designed to build self-esteem and confidence for 60 campers. Jones helps pick the activities and shows up daily to hang out with the kids.
"If you're an absentee camp director it's a huge letdown," he said. "They expect to see you."
The camp is also run by Florida's Department of Children and Families and community partners in an effort include foster children in normal activities such as team sports, sleepovers and family vacations.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)