Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett made a huge impact on a Chicago high school basketball program this month.
Morgan Park High School won the Illinois Class 3A boys basketball state championship for the third time in five seasons in March, but the Mustangs couldn’t afford state championship rings with budget cuts and funding issues with Chicago Public Schools.
Head coach Nick Irvin and athletics director Michael Berger started asking for donations towards rings on social media and that’s when Bennett and others started to step in. Parents and faculty from Fenwick High School–the team Morgan Park defeated in overtime in the state title game–wrote emails about helping while comedian Hannibal Buress, a Chicago native, also reached out.
Then Bennett got involved and made a sizable impact on the project by footing a lot of bill for the rings while also designing them for Morgan Park. According to a story from Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bennett spoke to Morgan Park via FaceTime to give them the news.
“I put him up on the big screen and let him tell the kids,” Irvin said to O’Brien. “They knew who he was right away and got really excited. They were so happy, it was great to see their reaction. That is a blessing right there.”
Bennett finally unveiled his design for the rings on Instagram on Saturday morning as it means that the rings should be finished pretty soon.
There is no connection between Bennett and Morgan Park besides the tight end formerly playing for the Chicago Bears for three seasons but it was a great gesture by him, and everyone else involved, to donate and make this happen. It’s nice to see that Morgan Park will be getting its state championship rings.
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A couple weeks ago my wife @siggib sent me an article about a school in Chicago that won the state championship but couldn't afford their championship rings. The community came together to raise money to purchase the rings but still needed help so I stepped in and gave them what was needed and I even designed the rings for them. @hannibalburess chipped in as well, that's greatly appreciated bro. 🙌🏾🙌🏾 I'm proud to say that 2017 Morgan Park High School Basketball team will be receiving their championship rings. This was my first time designing jewelry but I gave it my best shot. @jostensinc has been awesome in the process. Thank you! Thank you to everyone who gave to the boys. Congratulations Coach Irvin, Team, community and city of Chicago. Y'all are the Champs!!! #martyland #theimaginationagency #createdbymarty