Dear Jose Alvarado….

Dear Jose Alvarado,

Thank you. Basketball has long been my favorite sport and I’ve always hoped to pass that love onto my son. It wasn’t until the first time he saw you play that he really understood why I love the game. 

Being undrafted and often the smallest one on the court, doesn’t seem to faze you at all. Your grit, your hustle, your passion, and your never-give-up attitude are exactly the kind of traits that I want my son to embody as an athlete and as a human.

Watching you play for the Pelicans has been a source of inspiration for our whole family, and, on a deeper level, the City of New Orleans itself. Your genuine love for the game, coupled with your relentless determination on the court, really mirrors the resilient spirit of our city. And we are here for all of it. 

But it’s not just your play on the court. When you were hurt at the beginning of the season, it was clear that you wanted nothing more than to be out there with your teammates. Watching your reactions from the bench, we were all talking about “Coach Jose” and how you were pumping up your teammates at every break in the action. This is the type of support and encouragement that our city needs. We should all be cheering each other on.

In a world where positive role models are few and far between, your energy and love for the game should be an example to all of us, teaching us valuable lessons about hard work, perseverance, and a genuine passion for life. And stealing the ball from LeBron multiple times in the New Year’s Eve game was, as we say in Louisiana, lagniappe. 

As a parent, witnessing the positive influence you have had on my son and on our city is truly heartwarming. Your sportsmanship and dedication to your team exemplify the spirit of the New Orleans community, and for that, I am truly thankful.

We watch every game and, whether in person or on television, we get excited every time we see you go to the table to check in. Because we know that watching you play will be fun.

So, thank you. Thank you for showing our family and our city what it means to have passion for life and what a little determination and hard work can produce. 

Until the next time,

A Grateful Basketball Mom 

The hand drawn cover of my son’s binder.
Stephanie Davi-McNeely
Stephanie Davi McNeely has been in and around the nonprofit fundraising space for nearly twenty years. She oversees development and strategic partnerships, for the ACE Mentor Program of America, a national nonprofit mentoring program based in Philadelphia. There she is responsible for corporate and individual fundraising initiatives, as well as the growth and development of national partnerships with design and construction firms. In her spare time, she plays mom’s league softball, watches her son play soccer, takes French class through the Alliance, and serves as the First Lady of the University of Holy Cross in Algiers. She resides in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and 11-year-old son.


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