Gridiron Celebrity Hoops VIII
William Eric Graham
The University of Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall provided the backdrop for a live combination of hoops, hip-hop, and a little Super Bowl flavor as the 8th annual Gridiron Celebrity Hoops classic came to town. Pro football & baseball players, media stars, rappers, models, and even a Olympic silver medalist were on hand to show what they could do on a basketball court. Some of the players showed that they indeed “got game” and some showed why they shouldn’t venture outside of their chosen profession. Along with former pro football players Matthew Hatchette, Asante Samuel, and Donnell Bennett, the game featured Rose Bowl Champion Quarterback Vince Young, and everyone’s bad boy of the moment, All-pro wide receiver Terrell Owens. Playing against some of the best And 1 mixtape touring pros (Highrizer, Baby Shaq, Pat-da-roc, Springs, and the newest street ball legend, Hot Sauce), the game served notice that not all the baddest b-ball players are in the NBA. However, in All-Star games such as these, the final score and defensive play isn’t what matters. It’s for a great cause. Proceeds from the game went to Junior Achievers and Detroit Homes for Black Children. But now it’s showtime. And what a show it was.
Terrell Owens (T.O.) was there to take his frustrations out on the rim. He did some real damage. Along with Baby Shaq, and Highrizer, T.O. had the most impressive displays of aerial aerobics, showing that he could indeed fly like Mike. Starting the game with a ferocious 360 degree dunk, T.O. showed tremendous leaping ability and displayed a great knowledge of the game on a variety of moves. Vince Young, playing conservative basketball with the NFL draft right around the corner, managed to avoid injury, which would have been news worthy of Super Bowl-type coverage, if the unthinkable had happened. The crowd pleasing Hot Sauce performed his magical dribble moves, once dribbling the ball off the head of Detroit Tiger centerfielder Nook Logan.
Serving as the M.C. for the evening, the Pistons’ own John Mason kept the crowd hyped while a couple of gorgeous models (Nik, from “America’s Next Top Model” and Melyssa Ford of “BET Style”) kept the players in line as honorary coaches. The half-time show, featuring Virgin Recording Artists “Dem Franchize Boyz”, had the court overflowing with kids of all ages shaking their bootys. Spotted in the crowd enjoying the lengthy half-time was All-pro tight end Antonio Gates. So what’s up Antonio? How come you not out there ballin? He smiles and lets out a chuckle.
“No,ooo. I’m just chillin. Enjoying the game and having a good time being back in the “D”. He laughs at a young lady sitting near him who’s jokingly referring to him as her boyfriend. After Mason introduces 2004 Silver Medalist Lauryn Williams to the crowd, halftime is over and the game continues. More flying dunks, fancy passes, and surprisingly, a little defense as it gets close to the end. The final score? Who knows. It was for a good cause. All in all a good time for everyone. And nobody, especially Mr. Young got hurt. Isn’t that what All-star games are all about?