Last week, New Orleans Hornet, Chris Paul held his annual charity event, the Chris Paul Winston-Salem Weekend to raise funds for the CP3 Foundation and to give back to the community he came from…the Winston-Salem Weekend activities included a ‘Day of Service’ on Friday where CP stuffed care packages for American troops overseas and distributed food to needy families…he also hosted a free youth basketball clinic, worked with Special Olympic athletes and held a gala honoring the late Wake Forest Coach Skip Prosser…the first three years of the event have raised over $325,000 for a variety of programs and charities in the Winston-Salem area.
And it’s not just about community, giving back and raising money- it’s about raising spirits: “Today is always a special day,” Paul told the kids. “It’s an opportunity to give back to the community, to you kids and to all the different families who need it.” One such way he gave back to the kids came when he read his new book, Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big to local school children…simply priceless.
But those who know CP, know he’s not gonna stop at reading, donating, or rebuilding when he can do more-when he wants to do more…
Jarrell Marshall’s day went from special to unforgettable at the Carlson Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club. It was already shaping up to be a red-letter day when Marshall got to meet Chris Paul, his favorite NBA player. Marshall, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was representing the regional office of the Make-A-Wish Foundation at a check-presentation ceremony at Paul’s annual Winston-Salem Weekend yesterday. Shortly after shaking Marshall’s hand, Paul told him not to go anywhere. “What’s your wish?” Paul asked. “To meet Chris Paul,” Marshall quietly answered. “That and what else?” Paul asked. “To take my family to Jamaica on a cruise.” “I’m here to tell you,” Paul said, “that your wish has been granted.” (Full story can be read HERE)
I try my best to keep up with athletes and their philanthropy. I can count on one hand the number of players who go out and spread love without asking for a pat on the back…players that are so active and sincere about their off-field giving that it’s difficult to keep up with them…Chris Paul is one of those athletes. He’s an exceptional human being who hasn’t been tainted by celebrity and we could certainly use more mighty-mighty-fine CP’s in this world…for more about hot-stuff and his foundation, please visit his website CHRISPAUL3.COM. On behalf of humanity, thank you Chris Paul. (All images courtesy of the CP3 Foundation)
Carmelo Anthony’s Syracuse Basketball Center Opens
Last week, after years of construction, the Carmelo K. Anthony basketball center officially opened its doors to the Syracuse men’s and women’s basketball teams. “I would never in a million years think I would be sitting here today six or seven years after winning a national championship, doing the ribbon cutting for my building,” said Melo…
Melo’s 54,000 square foot Center – located adjacent to Manley Field House and smack dab in the middle of my libido- includes: two practice courts, a strength and conditioning room, an athletic training suite, locker room facilities and offices for both the men’s and women’s coaching staffs…but the best thing about it (aside from the name of course) is that fact that it’s a LEED building. (The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.) Melo’s building is designed to use 30% less water than a typical new building…it’s designed to use almost 20% less energy than a typical new building…more than half of the construction and demolition waste was recycled or reused…approximately 20% of the materials used in the building are made from recycled materials.
“We ask our student-athletes to be champions on and off the field, that is one of our missions here and it’s very important, Carmelo Anthony epitomizes that,” said Dr. Daryl Gross, Director of Athletics, “When you think about Carmelo being a gold medalist, Final Four Most Outstanding Player, national champion, and then what he does outside of basketball. He gives back to the community and donates his time, then as one of the few student-athletes in the country to make such a significant donation, to give back to his alma mater, that is outstanding, it’s wonderful and Carmelo we thank you.”
And for those who are unaware, precious Melo kicked in $3 million toward the construction of the facility. “I’ve been ready to cut this ribbon for about two years now,” said Melo, “I want to thank the Syracuse community for allowing me to come back here to my second home, I take great pride in this city. I want to thank the men’s basketball team and the women’s basketball team, Coach Boeheim and I were saying hopefully we can be in the top five recruiting class for both programs next year. Once again I just want to say thank you, I’m proud to be opening this building with my name on there and when I’m dead and gone this building will be here for generations after. Thank you, and let’s cut this ribbon.” A full transcript of the speech can be found HERE.
The world’s fastest man wants you to come party with him in Jamaica…Usain Bolt and his management team have announced that they will host a two day series of activities ending with a one-of-a-kind SuperParty, December 4-5 2009. The ’9.58 SuperParty’ will take place on December 5, 2009 at Richmond Estate in St Ann.
“We want to achieve several objectives”, said Norman Peart, Usain’s Manager, “Of course we want to celebrate Usain’s phenomenal 2009 achievements with his friends, family and fans, and we felt that nothing would better represent Usain but a party where he could mingle and have fun with everyone. However our aim in producing this SuperParty goes beyond celebrating Bolts accomplishments, as we now move to a phase where the world sees Usain St Leo Bolt, passionately and responsibly inviting people to visit, party and do business with Jamaica.”
As we speak, the guest list is still being compiled…most will be “international celebrity athletes” who have become friends of Usain…all will enjoy two days of fun in the sun…a celebrity sports clinic…a celebrity media reception…and the SuperParty…but its not just about partying with the stud that makes this event attractive, its what behind the man hosting the event that makes me scream Yams! “I have been lucky to be given the chance to meet so many wonderful and talented athletes from all around the world, and I believe that if I can create the opportunity for youngsters (and Delinda) to meet, interact and work with top class professional athletes, it will be one of my greatest achievements. I want to invite some of these professionals who I have met, to come to enjoy the weekend with me, and also to spend time with some youngsters, and share their knowledge and experience with them.”
Aside from the ‘party’ aspect of a weekend in Jamaica with the worlds top athletes, Bolt aims to raise funds for charity and community activities…with a focus on Bolt’s hometown of Sherwood…“Currently the medical center in Sherwood is built on leased land”, Peart explained, “and there is the possibility that they may be forced to move as the land may go for sale. We want raise funds that can go towards helping with the purchase of the land, so that the center can have a permanent home, and also be refurbished. Depending on how much we are able to raise we will also funnel funds through the United Way to other worthy charities.”
Just about everyone is playing poker these days, yet I’m still astonished that more people aren’t taking advantage of the most underused tool for celebrity encounters…yes, its called ‘celebrity poker’ and its called that for a reason.
One of the most well-known celebrity poker events is ‘Ante Up for Africa’. The annual event- founded in part by Don Cheadle- has raised thousands and thousands of dollars for charity, while giving poker players the opportunity to sit at the felt alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. I’ve covered many such events- witnessing everyone from the casual poker player to the diehard card-shark walk away with the main prize after paying a ridiculously low entry fee. Most events keep the entry fee low because they want you to play and they want you to win…they don’t want the celebrity to win. Celebrities are there to raise money for the charities involved and to interact with the players.
Aside from winning cash, celebrity poker ‘pots’ are chock full of other goodies…for example, if you live in the LA area and want tickets to see the Lakers or U2 in concert, why not gamble a low entry fee (for charity) and poker-it-up at the AM570 Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament?
The AM570 Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament will be held Sunday, November 8 at the Hollywood Park Casino. Doors open at 6PM…$150 Buy IN, $75 Re Buy…celebrities are still being announced but so far they’ve got 15-year NBA veteran and ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ contestant, John Salley (above): former LA Dodger, Steve Garvey; WWF Diva and ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ runner-up, Torrie Wilson (above-right); and former NFL player, Christian Okoye. Hosted by Joe Grande…so what’s in the ‘pot’? CASH, tickets to see Kobe, the Boys In Blue Playoffs, the Clippers, Bruins vs. Trojans, tickets to see U2 in concert and much more…additionally one of a kind sports and music memorabilia will also be on-site for a special charity auction.
A great game of poker, the opportunity to meet sports legends, a chance to win CASH and many great prizes and most of all- this event will benefit several children’s charities in the community. Please visit the site for more info and buy your tickets soon, it’s expected this event will be a sell-out.
“A lot of people have seen [this side of me],” said Rasheed. “Like I said, I do this with and without the NBA. My wife and I do it sometimes. I do it with my own kids sometimes, so it’s all cool.”
I can’t get enough of Rasheed Wallace. It doesn’t matter what uniform he’s wearing, I will adore this man till the day I die…I love the attitude, heart, hustle and flow. I love the way he laughs and I love the way he taunts. There is only ONE Rasheed Wallace and he does it right. Contrary to what some may think of the fiery ex-Piston, the 14-year veteran made his first appearance this week as a Celtic…and it was all for the kids. The new Celtic spent Tuesday afternoon reading kids “Make Way for the Ducklings,” and afterward he took a duck boat tour of Boston with them.
“I’ve been doing it pretty much my whole career, with and without the NBA,’’ Wallace said. “It’s nothing new. It’s actually fun for me, to interact with kids – that’s my Achilles’ heel. I’m real big on kids and doing things with them…Every kid likes to be read to, or even just have an adult play with them a lot, even if it’s girls with tea parties or boys playing in the dirt…It’s all part of being a kid. It’s something we all want to do.”
But what I really love about Rasheed, is the fact that he flies under the radar in terms of charity work…he doesn’t do it for publicity, and he doesn’t do it to polish-up his image: “A lot of people have seen [this side of me],” he said. “I do this with and without the NBA. My wife and I do it sometimes. I do it with my own kids sometimes, so it’s all cool…I wanted to continue what I did in Detroit, what I did in Portland, what I do in Philadelphia, North Carolina, and what I did in Washington when I was there with the Bullets many moons ago. It’s something the kids look forward to, you know, to have a professional athlete — football, baseball, basketball, whatever — come to their school in their neighborhood and watch them interact, and interact with them.”
Will Ferrell Hosts 16th Annual Cancer for College Event
Cancer for College held its 16th annual fundraiser yesterday in Rancho Bernardo, and once again, funnyman Will Ferrell was the host. Ferrell’s support for the charity is rooted in a longtime friendship with double-amputee and cancer survivor Craig Pollard, founder of Cancer for College. “What Cancer for College does is provide college scholarships for cancer survivors and amputees,” explained Pollard, “Will’s been involved pretty much from the beginning.”
Ferrell brought his humor to the event while explaining how he and Craig (far right) bonded in college: “Every Wednesday night we would spoon, on the roof of the fraternity house, on a big bearskin rug.” After a beat though, he got serious for a minute, “It is the only charity I’m this actively involved in and am happy to lend my name to,” explained Ferrell. “It’s one of the purest charities you’ll ever be around in terms of-all the money goes directly to the kids, immediately and no one is turned away.”
Of course, discussions took place about the success of the infamous Will Ferrell sunscreen? “We sold 10,000 bottles in six weeks on the Internet,” said Pollard, “and we’ve just started presenting it to retail stores and internationally.” With this kind of public support, might we see more Will Ferrell Cancer for College products? “If it does kinda take hold it would fun to have it be almost like a Paul Newman type of thing,” said Ferrell, “Where all the proceeds would go to the charity…in fact, it’s a horrible sunscreen, it’s actually better on salad…it has almost a sage-parsley taste to it.”
Ferrell was also quick to please inquiring minds about a possible ‘Anchorman’ sequel: “Yeah, we’re talking about it. We’re just trying to figure out when we can fit it in to the schedule” said Ferrell, “But I think after we finish this movie we might start working on a script.” Ferrell’s speaking of his latest movie ‘The Other Guys’ which starts filming next week. It costars Samuel Jackson, the Rock and Mark Wahlberg…does this mean we might see Ferrell as a guest star on Wahlberg’s ‘Entourage’ one day? “They haven’t asked me,” said Ferrell, “But if they do- as long as they make the episode about the charity, I’m happy to do it.”
Finally, an awards show that doesn’t recognize how well you act but rather how well you act towards others…on October 18, 2009, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the charity community and its brigade of Hollywood supporters will gain global recognition when the inaugural Noble Humanitarian Awards takes place…The two-hour event, produced on behalf of the non-profit Celebrity Charity Awards Corporation, seeks to annually honor up to a dozen charities and celebrities who actively support them, elevating awareness of these organizations and the impact of their work inaugural Noble Humanitarian Award.
This is huge on so many levels…while we do have other ‘humanitarian’ awards out there that earn some media attention- this one isn’t going to fly under the radar. Think ESPY’s meet the OSCARS…it’s brilliant, and necessary…Celebrities will be accepting awards on behalf of the charities being honored…a few examples include: Laila Ali: Women’s Sports Foundation, Jessica Biel: Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Alicia Keyes: Keep a Child Alive, Joel Madden: The Art of Elysium and Brett Ratner: DoSomething.org.
During the ceremony, each will be presented with the trophy award, designed by Antonio Banderas, with personal touches added by children who participated in The Art of Elysium workshop at the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. Other performers and presenters will be announced closer to the event.
Props to Janeen Mansour, the creator and executive producer of the Noble Humanitarian Awards. “Celebrities have long given their time to charity, championing causes they feel passionate about. Their support draws media coverage, and organizations benefit. With the Noble Awards, we aim to turn the spotlight back onto these celebrities and charities in an effort to provide recognition, to educate, to inspire, and to encourage even more support from the Hollywood community and the public at large. It’s an annual celebration of service and volunteerism,” explains Mansour.
The Noble Humanitarian Awards are produced on behalf of the Celebrity Charity Awards Corporation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. With the staging of the first annual awards on October 18, 2009, the Celebrity Charity Awards Corporation will launch a year-round campaign to better unify the efforts of charities with celebrities, influencers, media and everyday citizens in order to create an effective forum for change and service. For more information, please visit www.thenobleawards.org.
HP and the National Basketball Association have kicked off the HP Digital Assist education grant competition…. no, not one that gives me a ‘digital assist’ from Melo, but one for the kids…More than 5,000 students from approximately 100 selected Title 1 middle schools in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Miami, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., will compete for grants worth more than $80,000 in HP mobile digital classroom technology, NBA tickets and merchandise, visits from NBA stars and other awards.
Tipping off the event at Jefferson Junior High School in Washington, D.C. was All-Star Wizard Antawn Jamison (L) and NBA Legend Bob Lanier (not pictured)…
In Chicago, Janero Pargo of the Chicago Bulls frolicked with that scary mascot, Benny the Bull, and eighth grade students of Orozco Community Academy…
Here’s how it works: The competition invites student teams to create projects that make classroom concepts real and relevant to the outside world by engaging students to combine the power of technology and the excitement of NBA basketball. In addition to enhancing learning, these projects will allow students to demonstrate how they learn best and — through a public competition website at- www.hpdigitalassist.com – enable other students and teachers to benefit as well. HP and NBA Cares are working with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which will provide learning kits and judging rubrics for the competition and professional development for winning schools.
Sounds pretty cool to me…as does this little unrelated tidbit…for any of you trying to raise money for charity, there’s an amazing site called First Giving. They help you set-up a fundraiser page and funnel donations directly to your non-profit of choice…I’ve checked out the site, and tons of people are actively doing what we all should be…for example, in October, “Jen” will run her first marathon in memory of a special little boy named Jon-Jon…back in February of 08, I mentioned Jon-Jon…he was diagnosed with brain cancer and lost his battle at the age of 7 on November 16, 2008. Jen met with Jon-Jon’s mom, who asked for donations to go to The Cure Starts Now. This non-profit organization was started by a family who had a child with the same brain tumor, and dedicates their donations to research and treatments for children with brain cancer. You can help by visiting Jen’s ‘First Giving’ page, or by starting your own fundraiser page at First Giving.
“I believed in myself but now I can’t believe this has happened to me. I wanted this tournament so bad, for so many years.” Juan Martin Del Potro after winning the U.S. Open
I don’t even know where to start with this one…but how about the headlines: Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Men’s Singles final on day fifteen of the 2009 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 14, 2009 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Del Potro defeated Federer 3-6, 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Going into the Final, most assumed Roger Federer would win. Including R-Fed himself…not to sound redundant or anything, but this is his pattern. I’m not gonna go on a rant about how he expects to win just because everyone says he will, once again, you gotta practice and you can never underestimate your opponent. In this case, a 6’6” stud from Argentina.
“I don’t know what to say about this,” del Potro said. “It is the most amazing thing, it is the most crazy feeling to have…of course when I came closer to winning the match I knew my dream was coming nearer and I was nervous. But I believed I could do it because I have played very good tennis at this tournament and I just focused on continuing like that.”
Del Porto is beautiful in every sense of the word…beautiful because when he won, the last thing on his mind was the $1.8M purse…I know I’m not the only one who thinks sportscaster Dick Enberg needs to apologize to Del Potro. As Dick was explaining the spoils of his victory to him, precious Potro repeatedly asked Dick if he could say something in Spanish…Dick ignored him- instead focusing in on the prizes…eventually, Del Potro asserted himself and was able to say what he wanted with tears in his eyes. A beautiful moment for Del Potro, and a major career tarnisher for Enberg. The favoritism given to Federer was also nauseating…just read the body language in the above photo. Nough said?
I’m not quite sure what it was that Del Potro said in his native tongue, but according to my ears it was something along the lines of: “I try for so long to make a date with this crazy red-headed blogger, now I feel prepared she will say yes, no? As I give her the greatest gift a man could-the US Open trophy I earned from Federer…”
“This one is easy to get over just because I’ve had the most amazing summer and a great run,” Federer said. Oh, have fun getting over it Roger Federer but judging by the look on her face last night, I’m not too sure Smirka feels the same way.
Congratulations to all 6’6” of gorgeousness named Juan Martin Del Potro. You won with class, eloquence and skill. We see you now~
Liquid Nation Ball 6: Flea Receives Humanitarian Award
“Anything that I have ever done, that is good, that is kind, that is helpful…it’s just what you are supposed to do. Nothing I have done is extraordinary or special, it’s just normal and it’s what all of us are supposed to do.” Flea upon receiving the SIMA Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Surfing industry legends and stars turned out in full force last night for the 6th Annual Liquid Nation Ball to honor Red Hot Chili Pepper Flea with the SIMA Humanitarian of the Year Award and raise money for 12 surf-related humanitarian organizations.
The event was held at the ocean front home of Liquid Nation Ball chairman and co-founder, Fernando Aguerre, who should also receive an award for his incredible hospitality and generosity. “The excitement and caliber of this year’s Liquid Nation Ball has taken the fundraising to a whole new level,” Aguerre said prior to the event, “I firmly believe that Liquid Nation Ball 6 will be the best and most successful one yet.” Oh, and it was. From the costumed creature that greeted guests to the never ending crab cakes, empanada’s, skewed chicken and shrimp-(not to mention the numerous open bars and buffets)-it was easy to see why this event sells out every year.
First of all, Aguerre’s home is breathtaking…like a museum. A surfer’s paradise of a museum…the walls are lined with rare, vintage and unique surfboards, as well as some amazing sports related memorabilia-including a Diego Maradona signed jersey and another one signed by the Argentinean soccer team…I was salivating.
Frolicking around the party were numerous celebrity athletes, notably Tony Hawk and Rob Machado. Machado is one of the world’s greatest surfers…and he is also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I plopped myself next to him in a cabana, eager to ask about him about his charity work. “I do have my own foundation, “ he told me, “It’s the Rob Machado Foundation. I teamed up with the elementary schools in my neighborhood, and we do environmental education programs, anything from your basic recycling programs and organic farming-we have organic gardens all over the property- and we also sponsor ocean week, which is an entire week where all curriculum is geared around protecting the ocean.” And as any good ocean-loven writer would ask, I had to bring up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: “I’d like to learn more about it, “ he said of the Texas sized wad of garbage floating in the Pacific, “I have a few friends that are working on projects, they’ve gone out to it and they are just blown away.”
I also had the privilege of speaking with Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) about his charity work, his Silverlake Conservatory and how it felt to receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award…instead of transcribing the interview, I’ve opted to simply post the video of his acceptance speech after Tony Hawk and Izzy Paskowitz presented him with the award…Flea is one of the most sincere and genuine people I’ve met, with a deep-found belief in giving back. Simply put, he rocks.
Flea pretty much sums it up there…and might I suggest that next year you buy your tickets to this event the minute they go on-sale. Each year its sells out quicker than the previous year…please visit SIMA for more information or any of the links provided in this post-all the organizations are doing incredible things for our kids and the environment. Special thanks to four-time world surfing champion Lisa Anderson for all her hard work, Mandy Johnson from SIMA, Tony Hawk for finally remembering me, Rob Machado for being a classy stud with great follow through skills, Flea for being who he is and Fernando Aguerre for inviting us all into his home for a great cause.
About SIMA: The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the trade association of competing surf industry product suppliers working together to magnify their power for the development of the surf industry by: Promoting awareness and participation in the sport of surfing, which will result in increased sales of members’ products; Endorsing industry trade shows to assist members in bringing their products to market; Providing programs, services and information that will assist members in improving their business operations; Supporting oceanic environmental efforts through the SIMA Environmental Fund to ensure future growth of the sport and understanding of environmental activism.
About The Rob Machado Foundation: (RMF) is a California based 501c(3) not-for-profit private foundation. Founded in 2005, RMF was created to support charities dedicated to environmental programs within Southern California. Our primary mission is to provide funding and initiate educational programs focused on helping children understand their contribution towards a healthy earth. Annually, in September, the foundation hosts the Rob Machado Golf Experience in Solana Beach, CA as a means to support our efforts.
About Silverlake Conservatory of Music: The mission of the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit organization, is to facilitate basic music education. Our primary focus is on the youth of the community but all are welcome and encouraged to participate. The Conservatory offers private music lessons at a reasonable cost and grants scholarships to children in need, providing free lessons and instruments. The study of music enriches the life of the student as well as the community and society.
Derek Fisher is Character Driven: Life, Lessons, and Basketball
Los Angeles Laker Derek Fisher can do no wrong…at least in my book. But don’t take it from me, Derek Fisher has just released his own book, Character Driven: Life, Lessons, and Basketball… And we all know he’s got plenty to share when it comes to life lesson and hoops…
Derek Fisher is a man of exceptional character…a few years ago Fisher was playing for the Utah Jazz when they faced the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals…at the time, Fisher’s then 10-month old daughter Tatum had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a degenerative and rare form of eye cancer, which required an emergency three-hour surgery at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital…Fisher flew to NY with permission from the team, stating he would try to return in time for Game Two. After his daughter’s surgery, he and his family flew from New York and landed in Salt Lake City with the game in progress. He arrived at the arena and entered the game in the middle of the third quarter…I can still remember the standing ovation he received…late in the fourth, Fisher made a critical defensive move, sent the game into overtime and in the closing minutes, landed a three-pointer that sealed an emotional victory…soon after, Fisher asked the Jazz to release him from his contract so he could relocate to a team and city that would have the “right combination” of specialists that could help fight his daughter’s retinoblastoma. The Jazz honored his request and Fisher joined the Lakers who went on to win their fifteenth NBA championship (making it number four for D-Fish)…
About the book: In Character Driven, the NBA champion and starting point guard for the Lakers shares his life story and the inspirational values that have led to his success. Since his rookie season with the Lakers in 1996, Derek Fisher has had a dramatic impact on — and great success with — the NBA. Playing alongside legends like Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, Fisher has held his own at point, exhibiting his exceptional floor leadership and participating in some of the most dramatic post-season games and thrilling moments in recent memory. In his compelling new book, Fisher shares the values that have guided him on the court and off. From his roots in Little Rock to his record-breaking college career at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, his four NBA championships, and his position as president of the Players Association, Fisher shows readers what it’s like to play — and achieve — at the highest levels. Drawing on the power of faith, he demonstrates how anyone can play for a successful team: whether that team is family, community, or just happens to be one in the NBA.
MEET DEREK FISHER: Los Angeles Lakers star Derek Fisher will be signing copies of his book “Character Driven: Life, Lessons, and Basketball” on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 at the Barnes & Noble store at The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, starting at 7pm.
Mbah a Moute: From Africa to the NBA, Without Borders
“In Africa, we’re beginning to see new countries challenging the traditional powers like Angola — the Ivory Coast, Tunisia. I’ve said this before: Africa could be a continent as important to the development of players as Eastern and Western Europe combined.” David Stern, N.B.A. commissioner
Finally the NBA is getting IT. Some of the most gifted athletes in the world come from Africa. We need more of them. We need more humble athletes who don’t forget the struggles of everyday life. We need inspirational athletes for our kids to look up to, and we need more mighty-mighty-fine men who appreciate their stance in life…and now we’ve got one. His name is Mbah a Moute (pronounced BAH-ah-MOO-tay), and he hails from Cameroon.
His journey reads like a dream come true…he didn’t play basketball until he was 14 years old. By the time he was 16, the kid from Cameroon had been chosen to attend the inaugural Basketball without Borders event in Johannesburg…within two years he was the best youth player in his country, three weeks later, Mbah a Moute was on a plane heading to Florida to attend prep school at Montverde Academy…and now, the 6’8” rookie is playing hoops with the Milwaukee Bucks, “It all happened so fast, but it changed my life.”
Following the footsteps of other great NBA players, Mbah a Moute went back to Johannesburg last week for Basketball Without Borders, where he joined Dikembe Mutombo (above), Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Vladimir Radmanovic, and DJ Mbenga, among others.
As the first alumnus of the camp, Mbah a Moute is the ultimate rags-to-riches story, and a powerful inspiration for kids participating in the N.B.A.s Basketball Without Borders program. “Three weeks after this camp I left for the U.S. and started my dream,” he told the children, “That’s why I’m back here today to tell you this is a great experience, take advantage of it.”
But the Basketball Without Borders’ athletes do much more than just talk to the kids…along with Habitat for Humanity, they’ve built 9 homes since 2007…they’ve planted gardens, played soccer, learned traditional African dances, and they’ve spent endless hours interacting with students helping them learn the fundamentals of basketball as well as life…and as evidenced above by Dwight Howard, the hotties are doing it exceptionally well.
Basketball without Borders (BWB) is the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development program that uses the sport to create positive social change in the areas of education, health and wellness. The camps have been held in Beijing, China, Mexico City, Mexico and Johannesburg, South Africa…to read more, visit the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders site…they’ve got a daily run down, including photos from a visit to the Apartheid Museum, as well as feedback from some of the players including Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh after they finished planting a peach tree for a Home Based Care Facility in Soweto.
Remember a little while ago I mentioned Caddy for a Cure was auctioning off a chance to caddy for our kitten, Camilo Villegas? Well, without further ado, here’s the video of Camilo Villegas talking about his experience with Caddy For A Cure at the 2009 Deutsche Bank Pro-Am.
About: Caddy For A Cure is the unique opportunity to help many worthy charities while providing the ultimate in golf experiences, the opportunity to caddy for a PGA TOUR Professional during the practice or Pro-Am round of an official PGA TOUR event. Be inside the ropes with the best players in the world, experiencing first hand their practice regimens. Experience club selection and shot execution to perfection. Experience what it feels like to walk one of the most recognizable courses in golf during an official event! 100% of all proceeds go to: The Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, the Wounded Warrior Project, the PGA TOUR player’s charity, the PGA TOUR host site charity, and the PGA TOUR Caddy Benevolent Fund.
New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul has had quite a busy summer…he recently wrapped up a trip to China where he held clinics for the kids, dedicated a basketball court and introduced a new Nike shoe…now, he’s getting ready for the release of his book: Chris Paul: Never Too Small to Dream Big.
“I’m too excited about that,” Paul said. “It’s been a few years coming now…it’s finally coming out. I’m doing a book release in New York on Sept. 22…It’s about my story growing up. The illustrations in the book are great, seeing the pictures of me and my brother, my mom, my dad, my grandfather. It’s great. The story is about me as a young kid, being around my brother and his friends, always telling me that I was too small and different things like that. And to see where I am today, it’s funny. Because in the book, they’re talking about me playing basketball, but anyone can relate to it.”
Indeed…but I’m a bit too distracted to think about CP’s book because hot stuff recently visited and spoke with students at the high school he attended, West Forsyth High in Clemmons, North Carolina…and while there….
…he brought along his son, Chris Paul II…in a sport where too many ballers have gone AWOL on their kids, there’s nothing better than seeing a big man with a small ego shower love on his precious child….
Run Tellman Run: Cross Country Run, Barefoot for Charity?
“…the only way to accomplish incredible things is to set really ambitious goals…I’m doing this to challenge myself and to raise money to help struggling young people, ” said Knudson. “This cause is dear to me, so to get people’s attention I’m running barefoot.“
I love this guy…Tellman Knudson. Chances are, most of you haven’t heard of him until now, but take notice, because on September 9, Tellman is ditching his shoes as he attempts to become the first person to run across America barefoot… his 3,200+ mile journey begins in Battery Park, New York on September 9…cutie pie will then head west, running the equivalent of one marathon a day. His route follows historic Route 66 for much of the way, with stops in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Phoenix and finishing on the pier in Santa Monica, California.
Tellman’s goal? To raise 100 million dollars for homeless youth…he chose Battery Park as his starting point with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop. “I wanted to include this incredible symbol of liberty, support and acceptance. It is what so many young people need, and something I hope I can give them through my efforts,” said Knudson.
It’s easy to see why Richard Branson is supporting Tellman and his run for charity. Tellman is an entrepreneur who has had great success in internet marketing…he is CEO of OvercomeEverything, ListBuildingClub and several others…but, perhaps giving us a glimpse of this man perseverance is the fact that he overcame femoral antiversion, a debilitating leg condition, to compete on his high school cross country running team, setting several school records and competing for the New Hampshire state championship? I have no doubt Tellman is gonna make it cross country just fine.
Please visit his website for more info. Run Tellman Run! The worlds watching…