As if you needed another reason to love Lavonte David, the night following the Bucs’ home game against the Saints, David hosted his Fourth Annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake with his Lavonte’s Legends Foundation, benefiting Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, at Pinchasers bowling alley in Tampa.
David’s teammates showed their love for the veteran captain, too. Fourteen of them showed up to support David and his foundation. Multiple players showed their support both in person as well as through donations of their own, including Jameis Winston’s Dream Forever Foundation and Mike Evans’ Family Foundation, which both sponsored lanes while the two players bowled with ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ along with donors.
This event, in its fourth iteration, is part of a cause that has stuck with David since he’s been in the league and in Tampa. A national ambassador for Big Brothers Big Sisters, David wants to grow the chapter here in the Tampa Bay area.
“It’s a great mentoring program,” David said. ”Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of people who I could reach out to and look up to growing up, so I figured why not join Big Brothers Big Sisters? They kind of adopted me and welcomed me with open arms and I’m happy to be a part of the organization. Each year this just gets bigger and bigger and better and better.”
View photos of linebacker Lavonte David's fourth annual VIP Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay.
And the chapter is getting bigger and bigger. For the first time in the 54-year history of the agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay was named a ‘Pinnacle Award Winner’ for 2018 by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. It’s the organization’s highest honor that recognizes the very best local agencies for growth exhibited. The Tampa Bay agency served a record 3,014 children in 2018, which was a 5.6% increase from the prior year.
“For the kids, it just gives them someone to lean on,” David said of the agency’s mission. “For the ‘Bigs’ and the adults that get involved, it’s that feeling of being able to impact a young child’s life in a positive way.”
It’s something David’s no stranger to. You’ve heard of players carrying their hard work and dedication they exhibit on the field to efforts off of it. But David actually carries the same principles he admires Big Brothers Big Sisters for off the field onto the practice fields and between the ‘white’ lines… with guys like Whitehead and White.
“I’d say Lavonte is the best to learn from,” safety Jordan Whitehead said. “[He helped me in] picking up the defense last year, my rookie year. Getting me handled, situated, looking out for me – it’s the same thing he’s doing with Devin White now. It’s like little brother, big brother linebackers and Lavonte shows him the way.”
White is the Bucs’ first-round pick from the 2019 draft and plays next to David on the field at the same position. David has taken White under his wing this year, just as he did Whitehead a year before. As one of the longest-tenured Buccaneers on the roster, it’s almost like David is everyone’s big brother.
“I feel like God put me here for a reason,” David said. “Football is something that I do but this is something I want to be known for. That I was able to impact peoples’ lives around me. It’s something I hold dear to my heart.”