Darnell Dockett helps some kids pick out toys during Tuesday's shopping spree he hosted for 50 needy children.
For Darnell Dockett as a kid, "there was no Christmas."
"You got one gift and we actually opened it on the 24th," Dockett said. "Christmas was just another day for us."
The Cardinals' defensive lineman is far from his meager beginnings. So he created "Happy Holidays with Nine-0," a shopping spree for 50 underprivileged kids he held Tuesday at the Toys R Us near Ray Road and I-10.
Each child – culled from Arthur Hamiliton elementary school and through the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation -- got $100 to spend. Dockett and a bunch of teammates – Bertrand Berry, Bryan Robinson, Bryant McFadden, Tim Hightower and strength and conditioning coach John Lott – helped out.
"I was in that lower class area, so it feels good to actually give back," Dockett said. "I am in a situation where God blessed me with money and talent to give back and I am finally doing that and it feels good."
The event is one of many similar holiday-themed events players have taken part in to make a better Christmas for needy kids. Anquan Boldin held the same event -- $100 each for 50 kids from Crisis Nursery of Phoenix -- a couple hours earlier in the same Toys R Us. Berry's annual "B-Train Holiday Express" was held earlier this month, and offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges will host one later this week.
Sometimes, it's not even an event. Safety Adrian Wilson quietly donated more than $30,000 of adidas shoes to the Hamilton School, with principal Mishay Tribble saying the kids there would have a special time set aside to get their new footware.
At Dockett's event, most kids had a pretty good idea what they wanted to get, especially since $100 still goes a long way toward fulfilling most wish lists.
"Dockett put on a good deal," Robinson said. "We're just here to help.
"We are doing it all, having a couple math lessons in there, adding and subtracting, what to buy. Ultimately it's their decision but we try to give a little bit of advice."
Asked if he could have imagined getting an opportunity like this when he was young, Dockett smiled.
"Not in a million years," he said.
"I wanted to do it last year but I thought about it at the last minute," Dockett added. "This time me and (vice president of marketing) Lisa (Manning) got together early and put some stuff together for it. Every year I want it to continue to get bigger."
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