Wolves’ Gomes Meets With Hospital Kids; Yao Talks to Sichuan Students in N.Y.

Ryan Gomes

Minnesota Timberwolves F Ryan Gomes took a Reading Time-Out recently at Gillette Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, visiting children with chronic physical and neurological disabilities.

Gomes: “It’s different than being at a normal hospital, because its just kids like eight or 10 years old. It’s even more important to support them.”

Everhart noted that Gomes “showed his personal, charismatic side throughout the visit.” He “chatted to one patient playing a racing video game with his tongue about how he hated to lose to the computer.” Gomes also “surprised another by performing some clever sleight-of-hand and revealing a Polaroid of the two of them together” (Matt Everhart, Minnesota Timerwolves).

Yao Ming: The New York Times’ George Vecsey reported that last Monday, when the Houston Rockets were in New York to play the Knicks, Rocket C Yao Ming met “with 20 students selected from the diaspora of Sichuan students placed” in New York after China’s earthquake last year.

The students were selected after Governor David Paterson “committed the state’s university system to further improve its long contact with China.”

Ming, on the students: “Their energy. They are so smart. Amazing ideas. They have such a bright future. They will help change the world” (George Vecsey, New York Times, 1/26). Read the entire New York Times piece

Photo credit: Minnesota Timberwolves

Michael Jordan Named Chief Wish Ambassador by Make-A-Wish Foundation

Michael Jordan and Wish kid

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has named Michael Jordan as a Chief Wish Ambassador. Jordan was formally introduced in his new role during his Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational golf tournament held last weekend in the Bahamas.

Jordan, who has granted more than 175 wishes during the past two decades, will serve as lead figure for the Foundation’s newly formed Wish Ambassador Council and as a national spokesman, assisting the Foundation’s efforts to increase wish-granting outreach.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Wish Ambassador Council is composed of people who are passionate about the Foundation’s work, including the Make-A-Wish founders, celebrities and national sports figures such as Jordan, former wish children, wish parents and Foundation supporters.

Jordan: “An estimated 27,000 children are diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions in the United States each year, and I’m eager to do what I can to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation reach out to even more of these courageous children. Granting children’s wishes through the Foundation has always been important to me. It’s a truly humbling, inspiring experience to see the smiles and joy that granting a wish brings to a child. I want to help even more children have that same opportunity.”

To celebrate the occasion, Jordan also granted the wish of 7-year-old Donovan Russell of Sacramento, Calif. Russell, along with his family, met his basketball idol in a private meeting Friday at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Also on Saturday, the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational made a $150,000 contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as one of the tournament’s charity beneficiaries. The eighth annual tournament will distribute more than $500,000 to selected charities this year (Make-A-Wish Foundation).

Photo credit: Make-A-Wish Foundation

Alonzo Mourning’s Annual King Pin Classic Raises $80,000 for Mentoring Program

Alonzo Mourning Charities' King Pin Classic

The annual Zo’s “King Pin” Classic charity bowling event heald in Miami last week netted $80,000 for the the Honey Shine Mentoring Program, a program of Alonzo Mourning Charities, which works to empower young girls to shine as women.

This year, the Seminole Tribe of Indians team (pictured above) took over “King Pin” status and led the other teams that supported the event.

The event featured a number of sports personalities, including the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, Shawn Marion, Dorell Wright and Joel Anthony, as well as Chad Jackson of the Denver Broncos, Donte Stallworth and Braylon Edwards of the Cleveland Browns, former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, former NFL player O.J. McDuffie, former MLB player Charles Johnson and NFL player Duane Starks (Alonzo Mourning Charities).

Photo credit: Alonzo Mourning Charities

Dikembe Mutombo Discusses His Hospital in Kinshasa with SI.com’s Thomsen

Dikembe Mutombo

In his Weekly Countdown, SI.com’s Ian Thomsen noted that Houston Rockets C Dikembe Mutombo’s “mission extends beyond basketball.”

Mutombo celebrated the first year of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa on December 7. Mutombo: “We celebrate the first year when the world is crashing. Economically the world is crashing, spiritually the world is crashing. There is war all over the places right now, in Africa, in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia. We have to stay strong, to continue to do God’s work. Otherwise all of these people will perish.”

Mutombo also said that “this year, … the hospital is in need of $2 million to remain open.” Mutombo added, “If 100,000 people will each donate $20 to the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, we will have $2 million to give treatment to women and children and the oldest people who are dying every day from malaria. There is a child dying in Africa every 35 seconds. Last year alone more than 2.5 million children died in Africa because of malaria. It costs maybe $10 to treat each person. So imagine when somebody is donating $20, he is already saving the life of a child at the hospital.”

Mutombo: “You might see a problem in Africa and you can say, ‘I am not from Africa, I can not be part of that.’ But you don’t know that if by paying $20 or $30 to that particular organization, that you save the life of two children or three children in that hospital” (Ian Thomsen, SI.com, 1/23). Read the entire article from SI.com

Photo credit: Dikembe Mutombo Foundation

NBA Players Share Their Thoughts on President Barack Obama

Several NBA players share thoughts on new President Barack Obama. The first video is a clip from NBA TV, while the second video comes from an unidentified source.

NBA Players Talk About Barack Obama (2:32)

Video added to YouTube: January 20, 2009

NBA Players Talk About Barack Obama (3:51)

Video added to YouTube: January 19, 2009

Hornets’ Stojakovic Receives the NBA Community Assist Award for December

Peja Stojakovic

New Orleans Hornets F Peja Stojakovic received the NBA Community Assist Award for December.

One of the reasons Stojakovic is being honored was the Peja Stojakovic Children’s Foundation’s second annual Peja’s Charitabowl. The benefit, held last month, raised more than $60,000 in proceeds for his Courts for Kids program, an initiative that installs new basketball courts, refurbishes existing ones and distributes basketball equipment to economically disadvantaged areas worldwide.

Also in December, Stojakovic partnered with Feed the Children to distribute 16,000 pounds of food and personal care items to 400 local families and joined McGraw Hill and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to distribute more than 15,000 books for youth organizations throughout southeastern Louisiana.

The Peja Stojakovic Children’s Foundation strives to assist underprivileged children and families both domestically and internationally, as well as educate people worldwide on important humanitarian issues. Through the foundation’s ongoing partnership with IOCC, more than $1 million in assistance has been provided to children and families across the globe (New Orleans Hornets).

Photo credit: Donna Matherne, Peja Stojakovic Children’s Foundation

Steve Nash Hosted Make-A-Wish Kids During a Recent Phoenix Suns Game

Steve Nash’s Make-A-Wish Event (1:49)

Phoenix Suns G Steve Nash welcomed some kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, taking them to practice, hosting lunch and giving them the royal treatment at a recent game (Phoenix Suns).

Video added to YouTube: January 14, 2009

Mutombo Hosting DC Party; Hamm’s Event Nears $200k; More Barrett-Jackson News

Dikembe Mutombo Foundation

NBA player Dikembe Mutombo is hosting a Presidential Inauguration party tonight in DC. Mutombo’s Party with a Purpose event is benefiting the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which provides comprehensive and innovative public health services in Africa to address urgent medical needs and preventable diseases (Dikembe Mutombo Foundation).

Hamm’s Soccer Challenge: MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger covered the Mia Hamm/Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge on Saturday, and wrote that the event “raised nearly $200,000” for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Mia Hamm Foundation. The event also “encouraged the thousands of fans in attendance to register” for the National Marrow Donor Program Registry.

At halftime, “patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma and other life-threatening diseases were introduced for the first time to their bone marrow donors.”

Hamm: “The more we can spread the word, the better. We can’t do justice by just verbalizing, so stopping and registering can save a life. And we saw that today” (Rhett Bollinger, MLB.com, 1/17). Read the entire article from MLB.com

Auction Block: As previously reported on Progress Avenue, last weekend’s Barrett-Jackson auction raised over $1 million for the Hendrick Marrow Program and the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. In Phoenix, Cathy Luebke noted that the Darrell Gwynn Foundation “raised another $165,000 Sunday as … Tony Stewart’s 2007 Monte Carlo hit the block.” Meanwhile, Jack Roush’s 2008 Roush Mustang GT “brought in $100,000” for Speedway Children’s Charities.

Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis: “In today’s unique economic environment, these groups need extra support to continue changing lives” (Cathy Luebke, Phoenix Business Journal, 1/18). Read the entire article from Phoenix Business Journal

Mavs Owner Mark Cuban Makes Charity Donation Offer to Nuggets’ J.R. Smith

Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban has offered to donate $25,000 to the Denver Nuggets F J.R. Smith’s charity of choice. The offer stems from an incident during Tuesday’s Mavericks-Nuggets game, which resulted in the NBA fining Cuban $25,000 yesterday.

In Denver, Chris Tomasson explains the incident, “Cuban took exception to a Smith elbow late in the first half that came close to Dallas’ Antoine Wright’s head. He told Smith at halftime he expected him to be suspended, but Smith wasn’t even fined.” Cuban’s fine was for what the NBA “dubbed improper interactions with Nuggets players at halftime and for conduct following” the game.

In a letter to Smith on www.blogmaverick.com, Cuban wrote, “In the spirit of the job of my getting fined and your not getting (a technical), have the Nuggets PR folks contact the Mavs PR folks and I will donate 25k to the charity of your choice” (Chris Tomasson, Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1/16). Read the entire article from Rocky Mountain News

Carmelo Anthony’s 15 on the 15th Program Providing Haircuts to Disadvantaged Youth

Carmelo Anthony

The Carmelo Anthony Foundation has started a new program entitled “15 on the 15th” in which Anthony’s Studio 15 Barbershop will be utilized to provide haircuts to disadvantaged children and underserved adults in programs throughout the Denver area.

The Foundation partnered with Denver Magazine to launch the program yesterday. 15 children from Family Resources Center Association received free haircuts from the professional staff at Studio 15.
Anthony: “I created the ‘15 on the 15th’ concept as a program through which my Foundation could, at least in some small way, have a positive impact on someone’s life. Since disadvantaged children and adults in our community face challenges every day, we hope something as simple as a haircut will help in building their self-confidence.”

On the 15th of each month, 15 disadvantaged children or underserved adults from programs throughout the Denver area will receive free haircuts at Studio 15. Each month, the Foundation will select a different organization as the beneficiary of the program (Carmelo Anthony Foundation).

Photo credit: Carmelo Anthony Foundation

Shaquille O’Neal Featured in New PSA for Childhelp USA

Shaq Films PSA for Childhelp USA (1:52)

In Phoenix, Christina Boomer reported that Phoenix Suns C Shaquille O’Neal filmed a new PSA for Childhelp USA this week. The organization, which is “dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect,” believes kids “look up to [O’Neal] as a role model so they hope when he tells them to stay away from meth, or donate to Child Help to stop child abuse they will.”

Childhelp USA co-Founder Sara O’Meara said, “Everyone said you just have to have Shaq. And so we said we’ll get him. These economic times are so bad and people who made pledges in the past and honored them are no longer able to honor them, so when people step up to the plate, like Shaq, it makes a great detail of different to a charity” (Christina Boomer, KNXV-ABC , 1/8). Read the entire article at ABC15.com

NBA Cares: Nuggets Host Clinic for Special Olympians; Mavericks Salute Military

Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets hosted its Sixth Annual Denver Nuggets Basketball Clinic for Special Olympics Colorado at the Pepsi Center this week. In all, 125 Special Olympians participated in this year’s program.

Special Olympics Colorado VP of Programs Chaka Sutton said, “This basketball clinic just gets better each year. The winter sports season is almost over and our athletes will be playing basketball next; so this is a good way for everyone to get ready for our basketball season.”

Nuggets F Chris Anderson: “”It was great out here today. Not only do the kids get to come out and have a little fun, but we do too. Special Olympics is a great organization and being involved in a program like this is awesome” (Jordan Edwards, Denver Nuggets).

Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks hosted the 5th Annual Seats for Soldiers last month at American Airlines Center for a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. For this event, front row season ticket holders give up their seats to military personnel that have either been wounded in combat or have recently returned home from a year of active duty overseas.

Mavs Salute Soldiers (2:04)

Over 150 soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio attended and were treated to a private flight on American Airlines’ Flagship Freedom, the yellow-ribbon 757 that was unveiled on Veterans’ Day in support of all who serve.

In addition to the courtside seats, the Mavs donated 100 lower-level tickets to soldiers from Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City (Dallas Mavericks).

Video added to YouTube: December 16, 2008