I’ve written about Dave Cummings a number of times. How could I not. He is inspirational. And his cause – Hoops for Heroes – especially touched the hearts of many of us here in Waterville Valley after we lost one of our own in Afghanistan: Army SPC Marc Paul Decoteau.
Dave will complete the incredible feat of making one million free throws over a two-year span with a special event at the Basketball Hall of Fame on Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 11, 2011. Dave has averaged over 1,300 free throws made each day since he started on Veteran’s Day in 2009. His efforts have raised both awareness and funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
“On behalf of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame we are thrilled to share this monumental moment with Dave, as he continues his efforts to raise awareness for war veterans,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“We are grateful for all of the men and women in the military that have served and are currently serving our country.”
Dave’s final 1,000 baskets will be taking place at Center Court of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. in what should be a dramatic conclusion. Throughout his journey, he has included a number of reminders in his routine to honor members of the military. At No. 911 during each shooting session, Dave pauses to say a brief prayer and recall the unity the nation felt in the period following the September 11 terrorist attacks. He also keeps a pair of combat boots worn by Army Reservist Tom Cantara during a tour in Iraq, along with a pair of red, white and blue basketball sneakers, under the basket during each shooting session as a reminder of military sacrifice. The sneakers serve as a reminder of what our service men and women might otherwise be doing if they were not serving our country. The boots serve as a reminder of what they are doing instead.
“We’re grateful to Dave Cummings for his patriotism and sense of duty and dedication to our men and women in uniform,” said Dave Winters, President of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
“When he shot his 500,000th basket on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum earlier this year, we knew it wouldn’t be long before we were watching him sink his one millionth basket. We’re deeply honored by Dave’s efforts and thankful to the Basketball Hall of Fame for their support of our troops.”
Over the past two years, Dave has reached some incredible milestones:
• February 24, 2010 – Dave made 5,000 baskets in the memory of Army SPC Marc Decoteau in Waterville Valley where Marc’s father is town manager, less than a month after Marc’s death. Marc had been killed in Afghanistan on January 29, 2010, at the age of 19. His father, Mark Decoteau gave Cummings a dogtag with Marc’s image and said, “Keep Marc with you. You can return it when you get to a million.” Mr. Decoteau will hand Dave the ball for the final shot for one million.
• November 11, 2010 (Veteran’s Day) – Dave reached the 500,000 mark aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City.
• December 31, 2010 – Dave made 2010 baskets earlier in the day and made number 2011 in front of a capacity crowd of the Boston Celtics/New Orleans Hornets game on New Year’s Eve.
• April 9, 2011 – Dave made 10,000 foul shots in six and a half hours.
• April 17, 2011 – Reached 750,000 at home while recovering from the flu.
• September 2, 2011 (Marc Decoteau’s birthday) – Dave set a world record by making 21,000 free throws in less than 24 hours in tribute to a fallen New Hampshire soldier (Army SPC. Marc Decoteau) and his family.
Dave Cummings (2nd from left) poses with the Decoteau family after breaking the world record for free throws in a 24-hour period. Cumming’s feat was in honor of Army SPC Marc Paul Decoteau. L-R: Andrew Decoteau, Cummings, Mark Decoteau & Nancy Decoteau
Fans are encouraged to attend this special event on Friday, November 11th. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and the millionth basket will be made at approximately 11:11 a.m. to mark the numerical significance of this year’s Veteran’s Day.
“It’s not enough to go around saying ‘Happy Veterans Day’ and occasionally saying ‘thank you’ — I just wanted to do something more,” said Cummings.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has pledged a portion of the Hall of Fame’s admission cost on Veteran’s Day, which will be donated to Hoops For Heroes to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
About Hoops For Heroes:
Hoops For Heroes is a registered New Hampshire not-for-profit organization whose mission is to pay tribute to Veterans by providing financial support to the service men and women that have sacrificed for our nation, specifically by raising money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. One hundred percent of all donations to Hoops For Heroes are passed on to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
Located in Springfield, Mass., the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.