George Contreras

KNX Hero of the Week
Friday, July 19th
Over the past three years, hundreds of young, aspiring basketball players in East LA have been learning vital skills, not just on the court, but in the game of life. 

It's all thanks to the KNX Hero of the Week, who created a special club to help fill a need in his community. 

The East LA Basketball Club is run by Coach George Contreras. He's a father and works for the LA Unified School District, as a distribution supervisor.  In 2016, while George was coaching his own kids, he noticed that some other kids were struggling. Many were getting turned away from ball teams.

"Either they didn't have the skills to play travel ball, or they couldn't afford to play," says Coach George. 

As many parents know, it can be quite expensive when it comes to organized sports. 

So, George decided to help the kids out, by teaching fundamentals to those that needed a little help. And only charged what he needed to cover gym rental. 

"I just wanted them to learn the decision-making part of the game, and improve their skills," remarks Coach George. 

At his first practice, 15 kids showed up. But, within in a few months, the number had grown to 75.  

Today, the East LA Basketball Club is an organization with several coaches and teams. 

And, it's not just a place to play ball, it's place for kids to stay out of trouble. And, a place to feel included. 

"We made ourselves available," says Coach George. "Also, we did it to get [the kids] off the streets. They're good kids, and we just didn't want them to stray."

The biggest challenge the East LA Basketball Club has right now is finding places to practice. It's hard when there's not many gyms or facilities available on a regular basis. And, those places cost money to rent, even for just two hours of practice. 

But Coach George is not giving up, because he knows the positive impact the club is having on the community.  

A young player named Samantha participates with the East LA Basketball Club, and she says Coach George gives her confidence and is empowering: 

"He would always encourage us," says Samantha. "It was never like 'you can't do this because you're a girl'. It's you CAN do this - BECAUSE YOU'RE A GIRL." 

And, she adds that it's more than just playing basketball...

"It's more like a family, than a club." 

We would like to recognize Coach George Contreras' commitment to the young people with the East LA Basketball Club, by naming him this week's KNX Hero of the Week! 

KNX Heroes, presented by California Resources Corporation, saluting our military veterans, and all of our heroes! 

Nominate your own hero at 

Heather Jordan, KNX 1070 News Radio.