Prior to the Minnesota Timberwolves game with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night, Anthony Edwards connected with a Georgia boy who lost his family in a fire.
12-year-old Taden Johnson was a victim of a fire in the Hallmark Mobile Home Park in Athens, Ga. on Jan. 27. The fire, which occurred before sunrise, killed Johnson's mother, his sister and his grandmother, but Johnson was able to escape.
Upon hearing the news, Johnson's mentor Zac Hendrix teamed up with Georgia men's basketball player Tye Fagan to set Johnson up with a FaceTime call with Edwards after Minnesota's morning walkthrough in Cleveland.
"He just said, ‘Hey, Taeden, look man, I lost my mother, I also lost my grandmother at a young age and look where I’m at now," Hendrix told the Athens Banner-Herald. "Never give up. Always give 110 percent to where you eventually want to go. Just follow your dreams and nothing will stop you from doing that.’”
Edwards starred for one season with the Bulldogs before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in last year's NBA Draft but lost his mother and grandmother to cancer within eight months when he was in eighth grade.
The similar experience helped the two bond quickly as Edwards offered Johnson his number and Johnson planned on switching his number in basketball to 5, the same number Edwards wore at Georgia.
To add to the support, Hendrix set up a GoFundMe account to help Taden and his half-sister, Sha'Niah with future expenses. As of Tuesday evening, the account had raised over $206,000.