LEGENDS FANTASY WEEKEND: Slam dunks, service and soirées

April 30, 2014

The Legends Fantasy Weekend at Mohegan Sun was a delightful mix of slam dunks, service and soirées for NBRPA Members, guests and supporters on April 24-27 in Uncasville, Conn. All-in-all, more than 30 former professional basketball players attended this philanthropic fundraising weekend that included community initiatives, a fantasy camp, celebrity black jack tournament and black-tie awards gala.

“The Legends Fantasy Weekend was a great success as our Board of Directors continues to focus on raising funds designed to increase community service initiatives and provide greater programming for NBRPA Members,” said Chairman of the Board Otis Birdsong. “Thank you to Mohegan Sun for hosting us, thanks to our partners and most of all, thanks to our members for making this amazing weekend possible.”

CLICK HERE to view photos from the weekend

Three days of basketball-themed fun began Thursday, April 24 with the start of the Legends of Basketball Fantasy Camp. From Friday through Sunday, fantasy campers rubbed shoulders with the greatest players of all-time and competed on-the-court in an all-inclusive fantasy camp at Mohegan Sun Arena with basketball legends Rick Barry, Dave Cowens, Alex English, George Gervin, Darryl Dawkins, Otis Birdsong and Micheal Ray Richardson.

On Friday, April 25 NBRPA Members brought its partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network to life with a community visit to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford. Members interacted and signed autographs for young patients as big smiles dominated a fun philanthropic event. Later that evening, the Legends of Basketball Fantasy Weekend saw the Legends step off of the court and into the casino to compete with guests for a $50,000 prize pool during the Mohegan Sun Blackjack Tournament. NBRPA Member Mike Brown dazzled onlookers by winning the grand prize of $20,000 and this week announced he will donate his winnings to an orphanage.

On Saturday, April 26, dozens of NBRPA Legends conducted a free youth basketball clinic for children from the local Police Athletic/Activities League and Boys & Girls Club at Mohegan Sun Arena. That evening, Mohegan Sun hosted the Legends of Basketball Philanthropy Awards Gala honoring 11-time NBA Champion Russell, 3-time NCAA men’s basketball champion Jim Calhoun, 8-time NCAA women’s basketball champion Pat Summitt and sports activist Dr. Richard Lapchick for their legacies on and off the court. The well-attended event also included a delightful keynote address from Wolf Blitzer.

Russell delighted the room of 500+ attendees with an insightful, reflective and often humorous speech about his legacy in acceptance of the NBRPA’s Pioneer Award. Former University of Connecticut Coach Calhoun thrilled the hometown crowd with tales from UConn in acceptance of the Community Architect Award and former University of Tennessee Lady Vols star Chamique Holdsclaw brought out emotions from everyone in attendance as she lauded her former Coach, Pat Summitt – who could not attend because of her fight with Alzheimer’s Disease – and accepted the Courage Award on her behalf. Dr. Richard Lapchick spoke about his career as a civil rights activist and touched on alleged racist remarks by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in his moving acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Thank your to our members, supporters and Mohegan Sun for being part of our inaugural Legends Fantasy Weekend,” said NBRPA President & CEO Arnie D. Fielkow. “We had a very full weekend of service and fun for a purpose. The Legends of Basketball Philanthropy Awards Gala was a beautiful moment for the NBRPA as we spotlighted our organization’s community service initiatives and honored true giants of the game of the legacies on and off the court. There is no doubt that the NBRPA's brand and mission were significantly elevated and it was an honor to have our great partners at both the NBA and National Basketball Players Association join us in celebration of the NBRPA.”

NBRPA Members that took advantage of an expenses-paid weekend at the beautiful Mohegan Sun resort included:

Stephen Bardo
Rick Barry
Otis Birdsong
Mike Brown
Dave Cowens
Dwight Davis
Willie Davis
Darryl Dawkins
Alex English
George Finley
George Gervin
Jim Grandholm
Steve Hayes
Robert Horry
Geoff Huston
Ernest Jones
Tom Kerwin
Wes Matthews
Brendan McCann
Pat McFarland
David Naves
Johnny Newman
Willie Norwood
Eldridge Recasner
Micheal Ray Richardson
Rich Rinaldi
Marvin Roberts
Bill Russell
Bruce Seals
Nicholas Sheppard
JoJo White