Clippers’ Annual BasketBowl Challenge Benefits Children’s Hospital
LOS ANGELES – Fans don’t often get a chance to get to know players off the court.
The Clippers’ annual Charity Basketbowl Challenge, which took place this past weekend, provides them that opportunity in a day of bowling alongside their favorite players, with proceeds benefitting the LA Clippers Foundation and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“It’s always a great time, especially when we get out here with our season-ticket holders and the people who support us night in and night out,” said Chris Paul. “A lot of times the fans see us in the games and never know what our real personality is like, so it’s good to be here.”
The 17th annual event once again took place at Keystone Lanes in Norwalk, as season-ticket holders, corporate partners and fans joined Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Austin Rivers, Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, Clippers alumni and celebrity guests for bowling, silent auctions, prizes and giveaways, all for a beneficial cause.
Paul complimented Steve Ballmer for making the community and the LA Clippers’ Foundation – which raises money to help children throughout Los Angeles – priorities since becoming the team’s owner.
“To come out here and to have fun is one part of it, but the real meaning of this is the children at the Children’s Hospital,” Paul said. “This right here is always a beautiful event.”
Not only did the Children’s Hospital benefit from the money raised, but some of the kids and families from the hospital got to experience the event first-hand.
This was the third year Dawn Wilcox, CHLA’s vice president of corporate sponsorships, has been involved in the event, and before anyone hit the lanes, she already saw three families from the hospital get out to participate in this year’s event.
“The players come to the hospital, they spend time with our patients,” Wilcox said. “Today, some of our patient families got to come and bowl with them. They’re feeling better and out of the hospital for the moment.
“It’s just such a great example. Many of them face such trying times. To get a fun, VIP experience for the day is just really special.”
DeAndre Jordan said he often has more fun than the fans participating in the event. Jordan and Paul – two ardent Cowboys fans – both attended the event, despite the Cowboys taking on the Packers in the playoffs at the same time.
“Coming up, I didn’t really get these opportunities,” Jordan said. “Any time you can have somebody who you look up to come out and can put a smile on your face, I feel like that’s super important.”
Keystone Lanes owner Charlie Kinstler, a longtime Clippers season-ticket holder himself, started the event back in 2001 and continues to host it every year.
It brings back the veterans of the team, and the newcomers quickly see why it’s become such a success.
“It’s always good to support people who supported us all year,” said Marreese Speights, whose basketball skills are admittedly better than his talent on the lanes.
But bowling skill levels don’t matter.
More than anything, it’s about giving Clippers fans a fun opportunity to mingle, spend time with and learn about the players they support throughout the year, all while benefitting children who could use the help.
“You’ve seen us on the basketball court, but sometimes you don’t get a chance to get to know us,” Felton said. “It’s my first year here, but I’ve already seen it’s just a great event.”