Monthly Archives: August 2009

Arthur Ashe Kids Day with Will Ferrell

Arthur Ashe Kids Day with Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell is at it again…the philanthropic funnyman joined tennis players Andy Roddick, James Blake, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Roger Federer and others for the annual Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.


The fan-friendly event, which was founded 14 years ago, featured a performance from Jordin Sparks and some humorous antics on the court including a mixed doubles match featuring Kim Clijsters and James Blake taking on Ana Ivanovic and Devin Britton with Will Ferrell calling the shots as the chair umpire- dressed as Blake, wearing a headband and bald wig. Priceless. Simply priceless.


Later…Ferrell, Roddick, Williams, Sharapova and Federer participated in a target-hitting contest to raise money for their respective charities…by the end of the contest, a total of $67,000 was raised, with $10,000 benefiting the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network…the NJTL was established in 1969 by Arthur Ashe, Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder to develop the character of children through tennis and education…looks like they’re doing one hell of a job too. Video highlight of the event on YouTube.

As always, thanks for reading.

Adonal Foyle’s Foundation Refurbishes Public Basketball Court

Adonal Foyle’s Foundation Refurbishes Public Basketball Court


Fresh off the heels of an amazing camp for the kids in SVG, Adonal Foyle and his Kerosene Lamp Foundation have partnered with the Good Tidings Foundation to host a free hoops camp for kids on a court they just refurbished.


The grand re-opening takes places this morning at 10:30 in Oakland, California (98th St. & C St.)…Foyle will be there hosting a free basketball clinic for all the kids in the neighborhood…seriously, what more can I say? Even I have trouble keeping up with all the love he’s been kicking down…thank you Adonal and congratulations for re-signing with the Orlando Magic!

Please visit Adonal’s Kerosene Lamp Foundation for more info, or join his Facebook group to be kept in the loop of love.

As always, thanks for reading.

Dikembe Mutombo Opens New Centers at His Hospital

Dikembe Mutombo Opens New Centers at His Hospital

He once said he wanted to be remembered for his commitment to humanity…and throughout the years, Dikembe Mutombo has lived that commitment with ease born to men destined to do great things…

Yesterday, The Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center (BMMH), in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo and BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) launched two Centers of Excellence at the state of the art medical facility founded by NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo. The two centers, an Immune System Monitoring Laboratory and an Occupational Safety Center for Health Workers, will train more than 300 clinicians and improve monitoring and treatment of patients living with HIV/AIDS.

“The doctors and nurses at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital are saving lives every day and helping improve health care in the DRC which has been ravaged by more than a decade of war and disease,” said Mr. Mutombo at the opening ceremony. “These Centers of Excellence are an important milestone in improving the quality of life for those who live with HIV/AIDS and in training new health care workers to help prevent the spread of disease.”

Around half a million children under the age of five die every year in the DRC, mostly from preventable causes, such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition and measles. Over one million people in DRC are living with HIV/AIDS. Sexual violence of the most brutal form has been carried out against tens of thousands, over half of them children…compels me to say we NEED more Mutombo’s in this world, for the sake of the kids and for the sake of the DRC.

Mutombo was joined at the opening ceremonies by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, BD Executive Vice President Gary Cohen, and the DRC Minister of Public Health, Mwami Mopipi Mukulumany.

“It is such an honor to be here today at the hospital founded in the memory of Dikembe’s mother,” said Ms.Veneman. “He is a true friend of UNICEF and his dedication for his home country is an inspiration to us all. Dikembe continues to give a voice to the voiceless people of Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

About the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation: The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is dedicated to improving the health, education and quality of life for the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation strives to accomplish this goal not only by providing comprehensive health care at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, but also through an emphasis on primary health care and disease prevention, the promotion of health policy, health research and increased access to health care education for the people of the Congo.

About UNICEF: UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

As always, thanks for reading.

Muhammad Ali Honored In the UK

Muhammad Ali Honored In the UK


The greatest boxer of all time is making the rounds in the UK to raise money for various charities including his Muhammad Ali Center in Kentucky. Accompanied by Greg Roberts, the head of his center, and his amazing wife Yolanda, Muhammad Ali stopped by a new gym owned by a group of amateur and professional boxers, including British boxer Ricky Hatton. “When they told me Ali wanted to come and visit the gym my jaw nearly hit the floor,” said Hatton. “He always did what he did for the people, and this fund-raising trip to the UK is no different. I’ve met the greatest sportsman of all time. It is a day all of us here in the gym, and in Hyde, will never forget.”


Hatton presented Ali with a cake, in the shape of a glove, with a figurine of Ali on top, with the letters GOAT embossed on it…  “Greatest Of All Time,” said Hatton after Ali had left. “I have watched videos of The Greatest, and now The Greatest has come to my gym to visit us. It made me incredibly proud, and it brought a tear to my eye when he arrived. It was very emotional.” Emotional indeed. The ‘Greatest of All Time’ lives by six core values: Respect, Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving and Spirituality…so its no surprise that the legend himself will appear at three dinners held in his honor at British sports stadiums during his visit to the UK.

Each year, here in the States, Ali is the guest of honor at Celebrity Fight Night…it’s recognized as one of the most elite charity events in this country…and after attending a few years ago, I can see why…the line-up of celebrity and athlete supporters that Ali attracts makes the Academy Awards look like a tea-party…throughout Celebrity Fight Night’s fourteen year history they’ve raised over $52 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute (among others). Takes a mighty-mighty-fine man to improve this world and I’d say Ali has contributed more than his share of Love to better the lives of others. Keep on going strong Champ~

As always, thanks for reading.

O Mighty Isis: A Reunion of Love

O Mighty Isis: A Reunion of Love

O Mighty Isis…they flew in from New York, Atlanta, Dublin, Austin, Los Angeles, and god knows where else to funk it up after 20 years…and once again, they didn’t disappoint the crowd that gathered in Palo Alto last weekend for the greatest reunion show to hit the Bay area.


Held at Club Illusions in Palo Alto, the near capacity crowd didn’t hesitate to donate to the two beneficiaries of the event, The Allen Temple AIDS Ministry and The Mural Music and Arts Program. Auction items, including a signed Marco Belinelli Golden State Warriors jersey and an autographed Jeremy Roenick framed photo, sold quickly…perhaps because the crowd was ready for the Mothership to start funking it up one more time…?

O Mighty Isis is and forever will be: Michael Hogan, David Lee, Kenneth Fleming, Greg Kehret, Pete “PAMF” Ruotolo, Jeff Davidson, Rasheed De La, Tom Maitland, Ed Landels, Tim Baily and Winton Reynolds…and (once upon a time) Hershel Yatovitz…getting 12 musicians from around the world to reunite after 20 years is no easy task, but add a lil something called Love and it’s a no-brainer.


“This is amazing, I can’t believe it’s actually happening,“ said singer Kenneth Fleming, “And I’m not dancing with anyone except Debbie.” Fleming is referring to the girl who was once a fixture on stage during OMI shows back in the day. After all, Debbie is largely responsible for the reunion, as she wanted to celebrate her 40th birthday with the band. As evidenced by the above photo, they both still got it going on and shimmied and shook their stuff to Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover.’ “For me it was a lot of Love, Healing, Peace, and Joy,” said Fleming, “All together it was just great to hang out with my two younger sisters Robyne and Debbie. I will always remember this show because it gave me something that was priceless.”


Priceless indeed…even Yatovitz, who is currently touring with Chris Isaak, made an impromptu appearance and tore it up on the guitar just as he did back in the day. Other famous faces in the crowd included husband and wife jazz duo ‘Tuck and Patti,’ who said they wouldn’t have missed the show for anything.

As mentioned, there was a whole lotta love going on at this show…love that dates back to childhood and bonds people in ways too deep to put into words. It’s a love rooted in good people, willing to do anything to step up for each other and welcome new friends into the circle.


In fact, there was so much love that a second, more intimate show went down the next evening at Dan Browns in Palo Alto. The highlight of this show –for me- came from ‘Jimmy Finley.’ Finley once taught most, if not all, OMI members to play guitar. During both shows, Jimmy waited patiently by the stage, hoping to sit in and play with them…and I gotta say, it was worth the wait. Finley joined them during the show at Dan Browns…quietly and pensively, with a smoke hanging from his lips, Finley plugged in his guitar and began to play…at the time, I wasn’t truly aware of this mans talent, but once he turned it on I understood what a musical savant was. It’s no exaggeration to say Jimmy could easily outplay Hendrix or Prince on guitar…this is a universally accepted fact by anyone privy to hear Jimmy jam. (Photo credit: MATT WYCZALKOWSKI)

Thanks to OMI for one hell of a weekend…and thanks to all the generous sponsors including: ONE HOPE Wine; Starbucks (Red); SUST, Trader Joe’s, The Oakland A’s, The Golden State Warriors; Hobee’s; Jeremy Roenick; and of course Da Funk Crew.

Till next year…

As always, thanks for reading.

UFC’s Randy Couture Supports Our Troops

UFC’s Randy Couture Supports Our Troops

Last weekend, UFC stud Randy Couture hosted his second annual ‘Operation All In’ charity poker tournement in Las Vegas to benefit his Xtreme Couture GI Foundation that supports injured American soldiers.

“I started this foundation about two years ago to raise awareness for the guys, especially the wounded guys, coming back from the war,” Couture said, “We’ve raised about $150,000 for the guys so far.”


Couture is an Army veteran himself, so it’s no surprise that he’s stepping up for the troops. And he’s stepping up in a big way…aside from his annual charity poker event, he’s got more events going down…how about joining the beast for an ‘Extreme Combat Weekend’ of Charity Paintball Games?  Sure, you may come home with a few bruises, but playing paintball with Couture for charity sounds like one hell of a way to say ‘thank you’ to our troops.

This video from the Gratitude Campaign is unrelated to Couture and his mighty-mighty-fine heart however, it certainly gets the message across…

About the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation: Honors the veterans of America’s armed forces. The foundation was especially formed to raise money and awareness for those wounded in action and their families. To date, more than 24,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in the war against terrorism, which doesn’t include the many more suffering the mental effects. Many of the injuries are traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries that will retire these brave men and woman from the armed forces. Even though some of these men and woman are severely injured, they have the courage, strength and determination to win this battle.

Publishing notice: I’m outta here till Monday kids. If you’re looking, here’s where you’ll find me.

As always, thanks for reading.

Camp Sundown at Yankee Stadium

Camp Sundown at Yankee Stadium


It’s a struggle for me to write anything good about baseball…that is, until something more important than my distain for the tainted sport surfaces. And last month, the New York Yankees caught my attention as they continued their HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) by hosting an incredible event for some very special kids.

These children had the entire place-and players- to themselves as they enjoyed a ‘carnival’ style event which took place at 3 o’clock in the morning.  So who would bring kids to Yankee Stadium in the middle of the night, and why would players show up at the hour? Amazing story…the children came from Camp Sundown in Craryville, New York. All of them suffer from a rare disease called XP- xeroderma pigmentosum. Most who suffer from XP don’t live to see their 21st birthday…they can’t even be exposed to the slightest bit of sunshine or they’ll develop cancerous tumors…even fluorescent lights can fry their skin…so getting them to Yankee Stadium was no easy task, but worth every effort.

To get the children from the front door of Camp Sundown to the heavily curtained bus with double-tinted windows that took them to Yankee Stadium, all the kids had to wear hats, tinted eye shields, sunblock, turtlenecks, long-sleeve shirts, long pants and gloves. To get the kids out of the bus and into the stadium, Yankees media-relations director Jason Zillo (the mighty-fine man who dreamed up the idea) – had to take them through a maze of back staircases and tunnels to avoid any fluorescent lights. After the game, the stadium lights had to be dimmed to 30 percent

“I saw one little girl,” said organizer Zillo afterward. “When the centerfield wall opened and the whole carnival started coming out — she just started jumping up and down, over and over. She wouldn’t stop, she was so excited. People wanted to thank me. But that’s all I needed.”

Never thought I’d say this…but thank you Yankees, what an amazing and beautiful gift you gave these kids.

Camp Sundown was founded 14 years ago by Caren and Dan Mahar whose daughter suffers from the disease…there is no cure for XP and there are only 250 known cases in the U.S.

As always, thanks for reading.

Liquid Nation Ball 6

Liquid Nation Ball 6

Spotlight Event: Liquid Nation Ball 6

Next month, skateboarding icon Tony Hawk and Surfers Healing’s Izzy Paskowitz will present Flea with the 2009 Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Humanitarian of the Year Award. Proceeds from the September 11 event will benefit 12 surf-related humanitarian organizations.


The official fundraiser for the SIMA Humanitarian Fund is set to be held at the ocean front home of Fernando Aguerre: “The 12 extremely deserving Liquid Nation Ball beneficiaries fight every day to make this world a better place,” said Aguerre. “Supporting Liquid Nation Ball is just one way we can help these organizations and give back to serious issues such as breast cancer awareness, malaria relief, spinal cord injury prevention, and urban youth outreach just to name a few. And on top of fundraising we are also lucky to be honoring Flea, who is someone who has also affected the lives of many.”

Granted, the music of the Red Hot Chili Peppers would be nothing without the wicked bass-playing skills of Flea, but hottie has left his mark on far more than music industry. His tireless humanitarian efforts include hours of volunteering with autistic children via his involvement with Surfers Healing and he also co-founded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music- a non-profit music school providing scholarships and affordable music lessons to children in the community.


I highly suggest getting your ticket to this event before it’s sold out…tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $300 each…only 400 will be sold. Will you be one of the few to enjoy a night of dancing, live music, great food, open bar, a silent and live auction of unique one-of-a-kind items to benefit the 12 surf-related humanitarian organizations? The SIMA Humanitarian Fund Board of Directors aims to continue the record fundraising legacy and raise $250,000 at Liquid Nation Ball 6. To purchase tickets, please go to

I chose to spotlight this event for a couple reasons…it benefits 12 incredibly worthy organizations…most people aren’t aware of Flea’s humanitarian work…and the price of admission is nothing compared to the experience you’ll receive in exchange for helping others. Check out my previous post HERE.

As always, thanks for reading.

Ante Up For Africa and The Enough Project

Ante Up For Africa and The Enough Project

Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Herschel Walker, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Sarah Silverman, Jason Alexander, Cedric the Entertainer, Brad Garret, Montel Williams and Nelly…this is just a partial list of celebrities and athletes who joined Ante Up For Africa tournament founders Don Cheadle, Annie Duke and Norman Epstein for their 2009 Ante Up For Africa poker tournament…(if you’re able to read this posting in time, ESPN will broadcast the entire tournament tonight)

Participant Sarah Silverman reminds us what its all about: “You learn about the holocaust in school and you’re like, well that can never happen today because we would never let that happen today,” she said from the red-carpet, “But it’s happening. There’s a genocide happening.”

From the ENOUGH PROJECT: The dire crisis in Darfur is entering its sixth year. The conflict has killed 400,000 people and forced more than 3 million Darfuris to flee their homes. The recent expulsion of key international humanitarian groups by the government of Sudan in response to the International Criminal Court’s issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir has placed hundreds of thousands of the most needy at even greater risk and without access to medical care or reliable food supplies. President Bashir continues to utilize starvation as a weapon of war to silence his opponents and to distract the world from the key issues in Darfur. Now more than ever, there needs to be a dynamic international effort to move beyond simply treating the symptoms of Sudan’s crisis and focuses on ENDING it by forging a lasting and equitable peace for all of Sudan.

Ante Up For Africa has established itself as the premiere event to help end the crisis in Darfur, raising over $2 million since its inception in 2006 to help build a brighter future for the people of Sudan. “The greatest thing that you can do is educate the population about the problem,” said Annie Duke, “Because when some of those people who are then exposed to an issue that they might not have otherwise been exposed to find some passion in it, then they speak and our representatives listen and that’s really what creates the lasting change.”

Ante Up For Africa benefits two amazing organizations…‘The Enough Project’ and ‘Refugee International’s Sudan’ advocacy efforts…and they still need your help with another situation…our insatiable demand for electronics products such as cell phones and laptops is helping fuel a major conflict in Eastern Congo. This is the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman or girl, and the sexual violence there is often fueled by militias warring over conflict minerals, the ores that produce tin, tungsten, and tantalum—the 3 Ts— that end up being used in our electronic devices.

Check out the Enough Projects YouTube channel to view video posted by contestants who are raising awareness about the link between our cell phones and the violence in Congo. Oscar-nominated actor Ryan Gosling, actress Sonya Walger from ABC’s “Lost,” and Oscar-nominated director Wim Wenders selected the best three videos and are asking us to vote for winner. Voting ends September 8…so check it out soon.

The next Ante Up for Africa event will be October 29 at the San Manuel Casino. For more info, visit Ante Up for Africa.

As always, thanks for reading.

Derrick Rose: The Real Scandal

Derrick Rose: The Real Scandal

“…my mom, she never let anything distract me when I was in grammar school [or] high school. She never let me think of myself as bigger than anyone else.” Derrick Rose

NBA player Derrick Rose has been getting a lot of heat lately for some apparent youthful mishaps. I read enough to know it’s much ado about nothing. What I find scandalous is that buried within the bullshit-I was only able to find ONE sentence that mentioned that the Chicago Bulls babe was hosting his first annual Derrick Rose Basketball Camp.


It may appear that I look at the world with Rose-colored glasses, and in this case I certainly do, but generally my glass is half-empty, its only when the water line rises-as is the case with Rose’s activities-that I notice the glass is actually half full.

Rose hosted his first annual Derrick Rose Basketball Camp at Joy of the Game in Deerfield, Illinois. Kids aged 9-18 joined him for the four-day session that offered hands-on coaching from Derrick and other instructors.


Judging by the photos, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year gave all the kids in attendance an experience to remember. It’s just too bad there isn’t one quote from Rose about his camp experience …on his website, there’s an older interview he did with ESPN where he was asked: ‘Do you want your legacy in the city to be just about basketball?’ His answer: “No, not just about that. Also about helping where I’m from, the community. Just to let them know that hope is still there. Don’t give up. In my era, where I’m from, I only had Donald Whiteside. He’s from Englewood and he’s the only one that came out of Englewood. Other than him, I really didn’t have anyone else to look up to that was from my area. So in seeing him, I never gave up hope, just kept playing and then I realized that I might have a future in basketball.”


He also spoke about what he’d like aside from a wicked hoops career: “Definitely doing more things with some kids. NBA Cares stuff, charity stuff. I really think about that a lot because they really look up to us.” Thank you D-Rose…hold your head high and keep my glass half full. For more info on this mighty-mighty fine 20-year old, visit his website at D Rose Hoops.

As always, thanks for reading.

NBA Players in the Community

NBA Players in the Community

With half the sports fans keeping an eye on NFL training camps and the other half tracking the movements of Princess Kobe overseas, I’ve opted to check in with some of our NBA hotties to see what kind of Summer love they’ve been spreading in the communities…


First up, New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul…a player whose name has become synonymous with ‘rebuilding New Orleans,’ and for obvious reasons-he just doesn’t stop giving back to the community. As part of his continuing efforts to give back to the youth of New Orleans, Paul has committed to refurbish three local basketball courts…last week hot-stuff dedicated one of the refurbished courts-painted to replicate Wake Forest University’s- in the Seventh Ward neighborhood. After the court dedication, CP3 headed to China where he’s running camps and meeting with the local communities before he jumps back on a plane to hold his youth basketball camps for kids. More info HERE.


Next we got New York Knick Al Harrington who’s been a very busy bee…first he hit up the NBA Black Party at K-Mart in Florida where he and rapper Fat Joe are busy promoting their new basketball shoe, the Protégé…the footwear line is the result of a partnership between the NBA and Kmart. Kmart is marketing the new product as an affordable alternative to other basketball shoes…the Protégé kicks starts at $34.99…Harrington must be doing something right, because both Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins (R) and Golden State Warrior Stephen Jackson joined him on the Protégé Tour. In between gigs, Harrington writes on his Facebook page: “I’m visiting the kids at the Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth NJ.” To bring back an old Paris-ism, ‘That’s Hot.’


And of course, we can’t overlook the incredible work Adonal Foyle is doing right now. His Kerosene Lamp Foundation camps in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have seen nearly 1,000 kids in just a few days…In addition to shooting hoops, raising HIV/AIDS awareness and inspiring the kids, Crocs, SolesUnited & UNICEF sent down 3,356 pairs of Crocs to distribute to the youth and all kids received a Healthy Choice frisbee. Foyle is a remarkable example of how one man can truly change lives for the better. And seems that the media is FINALLY catching on…Adonal Foyle will be featured on CNN Heroes on Friday, August 7th, every hour between 6-11:00 AM. Set your DVR, check out his KLF Foundation or join his Facebook page…you might as well get to know him now because trust me kids, he ain’t going anywhere except in the humanitarian section of history books alongside Dikembe Mutombo.

As always, thanks for reading.