Salt River Elementary School fifth- and sixth-graders attended an anti-bullying presentation by the Phoenix Suns on Monday, March 25. Phoenix Suns broadcaster Kevin Ray, Suns power forward Marcus Morris and the Gorilla visited the school to educate the kids about how to prevent bullying in their school.
“It’s hard for me to say, [but] I got bullied,” said Morris as he talked about his own experience. “I was always a good kid, and I’ve always been this big, so a lot of people didn’t touch me. I stood up for people who were being bullied. I was always a big guy in my class each year in school. It’s tough, but if you are being bullied, tell someone. Don’t let it continue to happen to the point to where you feel like you have no control. Let a teacher or an adult know.”
Morris credits his mom for keeping him and his twin brother, Phoenix Suns power forward Markieff Morris, together their entire lives, where they watch out for each other and learned to watch out for others who might have been bullied.
During a Q-and-A session, Morris was asked how the Suns teammates help one another after a tough game. One thing they do as a team is go out to dinner during every away game. “We talk about our problems and try to bring each other up when we get together,” explained Morris.
“You hear the word ‘camaraderie,’ and you can do that right here at school,” said Ray. “If you see someone sitting alone at the lunch table, ask them over and have them sit with you. You never know, you might make a new friend. It’s that kind of camaraderie that can help build a great school for you here at Salt River Elementary and as you move on to high school. That is our goal, to make sure everyone at school feels like a teammate.”
After the Q-and-A, the Suns Gorilla made his grand entrance, running down the aisles giving the students high-fives. Students were able to ask questions to get a Suns Bag filled with Suns items.
The Gorilla, along with Phoenix Suns Mascot Coordinator Meredith Painter, performed a skit on bullying. The story showed the Suns Gorilla being bullied by someone on the basketball court. It made the Gorilla scared to the point where he almost didn’t go back to the basketball court, but he continued to go. As the Gorilla went to shoot hoops, the bully was there and tried to intimidate the Gorilla to stop shooting and go away. But the Gorilla stood his ground and continued to shoot the ball. They began to try to out-shoot each other, started having fun together, and became friends.
After the skit, each class had the opportunity to take a group picture with Morris and the Gorilla.