LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- "Black Panther" set box office records over the weekend, and 320 local students got to see the film for free thanks to Louisville-native Rajon Rondo.
MJ Romaine, a Central High School basketball player saw the movie with his team.
"Just to see African-Americans on movie screens isn't something you see often," he said. "It was an awesome movie ... so many different things, so many different story lines that went along with the movie that were told very well."
The movie event was hosted by New Orleans Pelicans star Rajon Rondo as part of his "Assisting Youth Foundation."
"I was happy to put a smile on kid's faces yesterday," said Rondo, who went to Eastern High School and the University of Kentucky.
Doug Bibby, Rondo's former coach at Eastern who is now at Central High School, was also at the movie screening to help.
"(Rondo) is not doing this to gain notoriety," Bibby said. "He's doing this because he cares for the community."
Rondo is back in his hometown for a quick trip. The former UK basketball star paid for the movie, popcorn and a drink, but admission for the kids was writing an essay for Black History month on a person who isn't always recognized everyday.
"I wrote mine about Jackie Robinson," Romaine said.
Rondo said there are so many kids doing positive things in the community, and he wants to keep that momentum going.
"I didn't grow up in a two-person household," he said. "I can relate to some of those kids in those ways."
Non-profit group Nerd Louisville is also sending 90 Iroquois High School students to a showing of Black Panther this week.
"All of the students attending are in the Engineering track at Iroquois," said Jonathan Meadows with Nerd Louisville. "We have a great relationship with Don Bacon, a teacher at the school, and when I wanted to take students to see the film, he turned to us for funding. Iroquois has a lot of low-income students, so we're always happy to help support them, and we believe that this is an important film.
"Part of our mission is to help at-risk kids, and we focus a lot on giving opportunities to students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but we also believe in diversity and inclusion. This film ticks so many of those boxes that sending students to see it was really a no-brainer for us."
You can learn more about Nerd Louisville at www.NerdLouisville.org
And Wibby's Foundation said it's still looking for youth in west Louisville to apply for a screening of 80 west Louisville students on Saturday. They have 40 so far but still have room for 40 more. To register, click here.
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