Matt Kemp: Watch Dodgers' Outfielder Give Disabled Fan Jersey And Shoes After Game
On Sunday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers were defeated by their hated rival the San Francisco Giants. Dodger players headed towards the visiting team's locker room on Sunday night to sulk after their defeat. All of the Dodgers except for outfielder Matt Kemp, that is.
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In the stands along the third base line was a kid named Joshua Jones, a 19-year-old from Tracy, Ca., who is suffering from inoperable tumors down his spine. Doctors have given Jones just three months to live. Friends and family pooled money together for Jones -- who decided to stop chemotherapy treatments after three years -- to see his Dodgers from the front row at AT&T Park for the last time.
After Joshua's father spoke to Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach before the game, Wallach asked Kemp if he would introduce himself to the child and give him a ball. What happened when Kemp walked over to Jones is the reason sports can still bring some positive moments, not just stories of DUI's and greedy players and owners.
The boy's friend Tommy Schultz recorded Kemp signing a ball for Jones, who sat speechless as Kemp came over. As Jones sat there in his Dodger blue-hooded sweatshirt, Kemp took off his cap, followed by his jersey and gave it to the boy. Kemp wasn't finished as he gave Jones both of his cleats and shook the hands of his family and friends, all while Joshua watched in silence.
"I was in shock," Jones said in a phone interview Tuesday. "I was sitting there thinking, 'I can't believe he's doing this.'"
Kemp himself was feeling the moment.
"I said hi to him, he just looked at me in kind of shock, and it almost got to me," Kemp said. "It almost got to me."
The video of the generous Kemp making a kid's wish come true has become viral, and Kemp had no idea that it was being recorded. In fact, Kemp had no idea he was going to give Jones the jersey off of his back and the cleats off of his feet.
"I didn't plan on taking the jersey off, but it's something I felt would probably cheer him up a little bit ... and that was my first time taking my shoes off in front of the fans," Kemp said with a grin. "But life is so much bigger than baseball."
"I don't think some athletes understand how big it is to be an athlete, what they can do with just a simple gesture of shaking a kid's hand. It can make a fan's day. It can make a fan's life."
Joshua just smiled during the event but his big brother Ryan knew how big this moment was for his brother, who may not get another chance to see the Dodgers live.
"This was our one chance to see Josh's favorite team and favorite player," Ryan said. "It was a special, special day."
Watch the video of the generous act below:
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