Elton Brand always seems to find a way to lend a hand.
So, it was no surprise when the Clipper forward gave up a bit of his free time this week, joining teammates Lionel Chalmers, Shaun Livingston, Corey Maggette, Bobby Simmons and Chris Wilcox in reading to about 50 children at the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club downtown.
Brand, though, made a more impressive commitment this summer, donating $235,000 to create a resource reading and learning center in his hometown of Peekskill, N.Y.
The brainchild of Brand, his mother Daisy and his high school coach, Lou Panzanaro, C.A.M.P. Inc. will benefit underachieving, at-risk youth.
"A lot of kids are getting in trouble, going the wrong way," said Brand, who because of a sore left knee sat out Thursday's 100-88 exhibition loss to the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. "I want them to have every available opportunity to better themselves and help better the community."
What he didn't want was his name on a sign out front.
"It's much bigger than me...." he said. "We could have NBA stuff because the kids all like sports, but I don't want them to go there for me. I want them to go there for themselves."
Carmelo Anthony walked into a makeshift news conference, saw the phalanx of cameras and muttered, "It's not a murder case."
The Nugget forward, a U.S. Olympian this summer, was cited for marijuana possession after the drug was found in his backpack during a search last Friday before the Nuggets boarded a flight to Milwaukee.
"I am innocent of this charge because I did not use or intentionally possess marijuana," Anthony said, reading from a prepared statement in a Staples Center dressing room before scoring 23 points in 23 minutes against the Clippers. "I had no idea that there was marijuana in my backpack."
Anthony's friend, James Cunningham, has admitted to the Denver city attorney's office that the marijuana was his.
Marko Jaric, cleared to play after sitting out because of a broken left thumb, missed all six of his shots in a scoreless 17 minutes in his exhibition debut. "After eight months, it's not easy coming back," Jaric said.... Chris Wilcox, starting in place of Brand, sat out the second half after suffering a sprained right ankle in the second quarter.