Nuggets players surprise day care to celebrate new hoop

DENVER -- The children at Venture for Success day care got two surprises Monday afternoon.

Owners Jacqueline and Nathaniel Cradle kept the group of 40 children inside the building all day while their playground underwent a surprise makeover.

Two weeks ago, the day care’s favorite toy, their basketball hoop, was reportedly stolen. Two days after the FOX31 Problem Solvers’ story aired, work began on installing a new hoop for them.

Action Staffing Solutions, a small business in Loveland, bought and donated a new basketball hoop. With the help of CTH Renovations and Arapahoe Rentals, the hoop was installed in the ground so nobody could take it again.

On Monday, the hoop was ready to be revealed. As the older children were let outside, they were stunned to see the new hoop in their playground.

“You never know what you miss until it’s gone. So once they realized the basketball hoop is no longer, it’s all we talked about,” owner Nathanial Cradle said.

Other anonymous donors dropped off basketballs to the day care and each child took turns shooting hoops.

The surprises didn’t end there.

While the children were busy playing basketball, the Problem Solvers brought in Gary Harris and Will Barton from the Nuggets to help them celebrate their new hoop.

“I think it’s pretty cool they came and nailed the hoop down and [the kids are] loving it,” Harris said.

Both players taught the children some moves on the court and even lifted them up to dunk.

“Some of them have got some skills. A couple of these little kids can ball. You can see why they like playing basketball so much,” Harris said.

Meanwhile, Barton was pulled into a game of tag on the playground.

“It’s always fun just giving back and being able to talk to the kids and just share moments with them,” he said.

Almost every child that goes to Venture for Success comes from a low-income family. Something as simple as a basketball hoop, a ball and a chance to play alongside NBA stars really is everything to them.

“If you can just inspire one of these kids that would be a beautiful thing,” Harris said.

“It’s one of those sports that keeps them off the streets, keeps them out of trouble. It keeps them doing something organized where they can learn life lessons,” Barton said.

The hoop is a symbol that even when something bad happens, there is always something good.