Santa Claus doesn’t always wear a red suit. Sometimes he comes in the form of someone wearing a basketball jersey. Look no further than Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, who made domestic violence survivor and advocate Renita Hills’ year when he gifted her a new car.
Oladipo was given a new Kia Sportage when he was named the league’s Most Improved Player last season, but rather than keeping the car for himself, he knew Hills was the more deserving recipient. So, during Sunday’s game against the Washington Wizards, Oladipo informed her of the gift with a prerecorded message on the video board.
“Hey Renita, this is Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers. Last season, I won the Most Improved Player from the NBA and Kia, and they gave me this nice ride,” he explained. “I’ve heard part of your story, and I think you’re an inspiration to so many people, and you’re a survivor. I love giving back to the community of Indianapolis, so surprise! This car is actually for you. My friend Boomer [the Pacers’ mascot] is coming to see you to give you the keys. I’ll see you tonight after the game. Peace.”
When @VicOladipo won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, he was given a brand-new Kia.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) December 23, 2018
Hills was originally told that she was receiving the car for somebody else who was too timid to stand in front of an NBA crowd, so when Oladipo directed the message to her, she was blown away.
“In that moment, I thought that I was going to melt into my shoes,” Hills told WishTV. “…I don’t do what I do for that. I do it because I love the people I work with.”
Hills works for the Julian Center, which is the largest organization that supports victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other life crises in Indiana. Each year, the group touches more than 6,000 lives as it works to empower survivors to recover and build a life for themselves and their families absent of abuse.
Oladipo loves to brighten the world around him during the holiday season. While he was with the Orlando Magic, he donated a car, toys and clothing to a single mother who commuted two hours a day by bus to work so she could support her 4-year-old child.
Oladipo doesn’t just know how to dish a basketball. His greatest assists come off the court.