Draymond Green, Warriors shine spotlight on National Autism Acceptance Month

Chris Alvarez Image
Monday, April 17, 2023
Draymond Green, Warriors shine spotlight on Autism Acceptance
Former Michigan State basketball teammates Draymond Green and Anthony Ianni hosted a postgame panel on the Warriors' Autism Acceptance Night.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As Warriors star Draymond Green warms up with the help of his son DJ, a familiar face is preparing for a night bigger than basketball and as Draymond makes his way back to the locker room he finds a familiar face, longtime friend Anthony Ianni.

The former Michigan State basketball teammates hosted a postgame panel on Autism Acceptance Night.

"You know, as an advocate, you don't want to make this a one-day thing. You want to make this an everyday thing," said Autism advocate and author Anthony Ianni. "You want to make sure that the awareness and the acceptance continues every day. And so but it's events like this that help push for that every single day."

Draymond's journey with autism awareness started in college when he found out Ianni was on the autism spectrum. Since that day, he's aimed to be an advocate, holding events like this postgame panel along with a recent trip to the California Academy of Sciences.

RELATED: Warriors' Draymond Green, former college teammate hold Autism Awareness basketball camp

April is National Autism Awareness Month and in recognition, the Warriors held a basketball camp with Draymond Green as a leading voice.

"Just to see someone's smile, you know, you see, you know, some of these kids, young adults smile so important you never know what they're going through in a life of. So just to bring some excitement to their lives is always important for me," Green said.

Green and Ianni are planning to hold annual events as they continue to shine a light on awareness and acceptance.

"Understanding and doing your part is important," said Green. "So I always try to bring awareness, try to bring people together and any time that you can do that for me is success."

Now, there's the Simu Liu Sensory Room at Chase Center to provide a quiet space for guests who might feel overwhelmed or overstimulated. Here's what's included in the space.

The Warriors commitment to Autism awareness has taken form in the building of sensory rooms inside Chase Center providing a safe and quiet space for anyone inside the arena.

It's organizations like this, like the Golden State Warriors, that really is really actually starting, you know, opening the doors for others to follow," said Joshua's Gift CEO Mizpah Brown-Rich. "I think it's an amazing thing because we really need it.

"For me just putting smiles on people's faces. As long as you inspire one person everywhere you go, like, you know, then your job is done," said Ianni. "So any time, you know, if I could walk out of Chase Center tonight knowing that I've inspired this one person in this audience, like, you know, my time here in San Francisco is well worth it. And it was definitely successful."

Learn more about Anthony Ianni here.

Learn more about Joshua's Gift here.

Learn more about Chase Center's Wellness and Sensory Room here.

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