As a coach, Lionel believes that sports is a great way to build relationships and bring communities together. In 1996 Lionel was coaching youth basketball in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. At the end of the team’s season the team had the usual pizza party. To Lionel giving a speech and handing out trophies to the kids was not the best way to celebrate a season. So the next season he coached Lionel challenged his team that if they did well they would go to a Lakers game. The team didn’t win a championship, but he decided to reward the kids with tickets to see the Lakers play. It went over so well he rewarded the next team he coached with tickets to see the Clippers vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves and a rookie Kevin Garnett. Years later Lionel bought 8 season tickets to UCLA football games. Those season tickets were used to take kids from his church and kids from the all-boys group home he worked at part time to experience college football games in person. During this time Lionel realized that many of the kids and adult males had never been to college nor professional games before. After the last UCLA football game Unity Sports Access was created. Originally Unity Sports Access was going to be used as a tool to mentor kids and to encourage men in the community to take kids with them to sporting events. It has grown to include sponsoring recreational activities for the youth with a focus on single parent homes.
Lionel has a passion to ensure that kids feel supported and loved, and believes sponsoring their activities is one way to affirm and build their confidence.