They Love L.A.
The NBA, along with Hollywood’s elite, gives back to the community.
It was a day to give back to the less fortunate, Los Angeles style.
Baron Davis and some of his celebrity big-shot buddies did their part to raise much-needed money for the underprivileged youth on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Santa Monica. Later in the evening, down the road at HAX, the Hangar Athletic Xchange in Hawthorne, Mychal Thompson, Lisa Leslie & Co. did the same thing in the name of charity. And SLAMonline was in attendance at both events. In fact, we jumped at the chance to cover the goodwill gatherings; it was a no-brainer. Shedding some light on all the good work being done for a pair of good causes was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“It’s all about helping the kids in the community,” Davis said.
Things began at Davis’ old stomping grounds, Crossroads High.
For those in the dark, unaware of his exploits as a teenager, Davis dominated play on the Southern California circuit back in the day. During the mid-to-late 90′s, he was the talk of the town, everyone flocked to the school by the beach to see him ball.
On Saturday, Davis returned, much like he does every year around this time. He spoke with individuals at his 10th annual Rising Stars of America basketball camp. And shortly thereafter, the fun got kick started, both literally and figuratively.
Davis’ inaugural all-star kickball game, equipped with several high-profile A-list stars on both teams, took center stage and proved to be a rather entertaining affair. The proceeds benefit the RSOA Foundation, which provides academic support, one-on-one mentoring and healthy living for the area youth.
For the record, Davis’ team defeated a spirited Jessica Alba-led group. Tayshaun Prince, Matt Barnes and Earl Watson got their kicks while representing the NBA. Cash Warren, Alba‘s husband and friend of Davis, won the MVP award.
“Teaching kids the importance of a good education and learning life skills is important… We’re trying to bridge the gap,” Davis said. “Focusing on the next generation and trying to be a positive role model for them is something we all believe in. We’re trying to build a community and I think we’re doing it the right way. I hope I can do this the rest of my like and make an impact on as many youths as possible.”
A few hours later, everyone’s egos were checked at the door over at HAX for the first annual John Wooden Memorial Celebrity Basketball Game.
Thompson and Leslie, widely respected in Los Angeles circles, ended up on opposite benches as coaches. And Leslie’s team, consisting of quite a few former NBA players and some of Hollywood’s more hip and major players, ended up winning.
It was nice to see NBA analyst Mark Jackson in uniform at HAX and former Laker Rick Fox had a couple of the more memorable highlights.
Fox showed that he still has some game when he crossed over a couple of defenders. But he didn’t do himself any favors by blowing a wide open dunk.
Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person and hometown favorites, Pooh Richardson and Marques Johnson from nearby UCLA, were among the many others in attendance. And recording artists Warren G and Flo Rida made appearances as well
The money raised during the inaugural John Wooden Memorial Celebrity Basketball Game not only benefits the HAX Foundation, but also helps the John Wooden Legacy Foundation to provide scholarships for inner-city youth.
In retrospect, it was an extremely eventful Saturday in Los Angeles and everyone involved was there for a good cause, to give back.