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24: UP fundraiser highlights Milwaukee Bucks player's footprint in the community

Pat Connaughton
Posted at 6:39 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 20:14:07-04

MILWAUKEE — In sports and life, you want to surround yourself with good people.

"People see me playing with Giannis, Khris, Jrue, but after our camps and clinics, after a few practices and tournaments, they just know me as Pat. I think that's truly inspiring to them and that's where I want them to see me because we were all in their shoes at one time," says Milwaukee Bucks star Pat Connaughton.

"At the end of the day, it's about having a tight-knit group and family and supporting them," says Anthony Mlachnik, former founder of WRAP and current coach and trainer with 24:UP.

For over a decade, that's exactly what Wisconsin RAP has done. So well, that it's something world champions want to be a part of.

"Being new to the city four years ago and seeing how they've run it for the last few years, seeing how they lead and lead by example throughout the city, I wanted to make sure I teamed up with someone who did it the right way," says Connaughton said. He is president of 24:UP and the Pat Connaughton Foundation.

Partnering with the Pat Connaughton Foundation, WRAP has evolved to 24:UP.

"It stands for 24 hours, unlimited potential. That's what everyone has in a day, 24 hours. How you utilize those 24 hours can dictate what you accomplish. It's near and dear to me, it's why I wear the number 24," says Connaughton.

It's still a basketball program looking to impact people like Gerald Gittens.

Gittens now plays basketball at North Central Missouri College as a former WRAP athlete and scholarship winner.

"When I was in ninth grade I didn't think I would be continuing to play basketball in the future. But as I continued through the program and throughout school, I noticed I could take it further and get to a high level," says Gittens, a sophomore at NCMC.

The major change with this partnership is the size of the platform they play on.

"My favorite thing about what we are creating and having Pat involved with it is that now we have kids showing kids what they've learned from people over a couple of years. And to have Pat, who I still consider a kid a little bit, at the middle of that is awesome," says Mlachnik.

"I wish we had that when I was here. That would be dope to have a winning organization and then have someone as big as Pat backing it. So it's fun to hear now, and I'm all for it," says Gittens.

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