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A Gallon A Day: Lakers Center JaVale McGee On His Foundation Juglife, Building Wells In Africa

A Gallon A Day: Lakers Center JaVale McGee On His Foundation Juglife, Building Wells In Africa

Los Angeles Lakers starting center JaVale McGee is on a mission to promote the health benefits of drinking enough water with his charity, Juglife.

Staying Hydrated 

“When I was playing in Denver, I was researching a couple things about hydration and the effects water has on the body, so I started drinking a gallon of water a day and was feeling great,” McGee told Benzinga.

"I started hashtagging on social media and people starting hashtagging back to me Juglife and telling me they were drinking a gallon a day. They were feeling great and losing weight. There are so many great aspects of water that help with health."

After he started drinking a gallon of water everyday, McGee said he started maintaining his weight, his conditioning improved and it was easier for him to breathe — especially playing basketball at the time in Denver, where the altitude has a noticeable effect.

A Broader Vision

The positive feedback led McGee to believe he may be onto something, and he linked with entrepreneur Kez Reed to start the foundation.

The idea of drinking a gallon a day was the basis of the foundation, but McGee and Reed knew they wanted to take their idea a step further and start providing access to clean water in countries with limited access.

The foundation has built five wells in Uganda and launched an initiative to teach kids in schools about water conservation and the benefits hydration has on the body. 

“We have educated over 3,000 kids, and that number is growing every year,” said Reed.

The foundation recently partnered with Shoepalace to launch an apparel line promoting Juglife, with a portion of the proceeds going to the charity. 

Juglife And Flint

JaVale McGee is a native of Flint, Michigan, a city now synonymous with lead contamination in drinking water. 

“We started the foundation before we knew what was going on in Flint, Michigan, so i'ts sort of an unfortunate coincidence that it had happened, because we started it before they announced there was lead in the water in Michigan,” McGee said.

Reed said when he found out about the crisis, Juglife was one of the first responders.

“JaVale started to do giveaways in Flint, and when we realized the water supply had lead in it, we started giving away bottles of water before the media started talking about it, because JaVale is from Flint and he knew about it.”

Over 80% of Americans do not drink water on a daily basis to stay naturally hydrated, Reed said. 

Plans For The Future

McGee and Reed said they are trying to build more water wells in Africa and in other regions that struggle with a lack of access to clean water. 

McGee's basketball schedule limits the amount of time he can spend overseas. 

"At the end of my career, it will be a mission to go multiple times every year and build water wells." 

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