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Stars unite for charity hoops game

Inaugural Harmony and Hoops basketball game at UC Irvine raises money for autism and other charities.

May 23, 2012|By Bruce Bourquin, Special to the Daily Pilot
  • From left, U.S. women's volleyball team member Destinee Hooker, Tyler Foundation for Disabilities founder Tina Marie Tyler and boxer Joe "The Future" Hanks pose for a photo at the Harmony and Hoops Celebrity Basketball Game for charity.
From left, U.S. women's volleyball team member… (Arnold Turner )

IRVINE — Considering the fact the payments went toward a charity for children, everyone appeared to have received their money's worth in the inaugural Harmony and Hoops Charity Basketball Game at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center on Saturday.

An 88-87 win in double-overtime by the Hoops team, which trailed by 19 points with 15:41 left, was icing on the cake. The only non-celebrity player, Kris Gallop of Cal State Monterey Bay, hit one free throw to break a tie with four seconds left to win it. Gallop scored a team-high 25 points.

A reported 1,000 people paid for tickets for either $15, $25 or $50, although it appeared like there were fewer than 500 people who actually attended the game, including several children.

But $50,000-$100,000 was raised for several charities and organizations: Autism Speaks, the OC Neurodevelopmental Center (part of the UCI Healthcare System), Reachback LA – Inner-City Health Program and the Tyler Foundation for Disabilities, founded by Tina Marie Tyler, who was at the game.

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"It was the first basketball game I've ever gone to," Tyler said. "It was even better than I expected. We had more celebrities who were able to show up. They really came out for the kids. I have a 9-year-old son who has autism and I have epilepsy, which is why I started the foundation. We were blessed with a lot of stars. We wanted to promote anti-bullying efforts and kids who are a little different than other kids. It was part of the United Nations' International Day of Peace, which is on Sept. 21."

Former Los Angeles Lakers and UCLA star Jamaal Wilkes was a guest coach on the bench. On Sept. 8, the four-time NBA champion and two-time NCAA champ was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is 10th on the Lakers' all-time career list in points with 10,601. He is also the vice president of the NBA Retired Players Assn. During the game, Wilkes came off the bench as a coach and attempted two shots – he airballed the first, missed short on the second and appeared to strain his right shoulder – but it was nice for everyone watching the man known as "Silk" take some shots. Wilkes' No. 52 jersey will be retired sometime next season by the Lakers.

"I think as far as autism goes, people are becoming more knowledgeable about it," Wilkes said shortly before game time. "I went to come out and see some good entertainment, a nice family event."

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