Los Angeles Clippers Foundation Charity Golf Classic Recap

The Los Angeles Clippers Foundation hosted its annual Charity Golf Classic Thursday at Trump National Golf Club.

The tournament, which featured more than 140 participants ranging from season ticket holders and sponsors to VIPs and invited guests, helps raise money for the team’s foundation with a portion of this year’s proceeds benefitting Special Olympics Southern California.

It opened with an 11 a.m. shotgun start at Trump, located in Rancho Palos Verdes, and continued through the evening with a dinner reception that included all 18 member of the Clippers roster and the team’s coaching staff.

According to Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting Christian Howard, the players’ interaction with the golfers and guests is part of what makes the day special.

“It’s a different vibe than other golf tournaments,” Howard said. “Not necessarily a lot of the players are golfers, but all of our players show up for the dinner. We have a guy seated at each table, interacting with all the guests.

"It’s an opportunity for all the people in the tournament and those who are supporting the Clippers and the Foundation to have access to the players.”

The Los Angeles Clippers Foundation exists to foster and support community outreach programs and activities with positive educational, civic, environmental and humanitarian values that benefit and enhance the quality of life primarily for children in greater Los Angeles.

Bill Shumard, who is President and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California, talked about getting the opportunity to work with the foundation this year.

“We are honored to be aligned with a first-class organization like the Clippers,” Shumard said. “The owner, Mr. [Donald T.] Sterling, and the Foundation have been extremely supportive of our cause for a number of years.

“There’s nothing better than to be linked with an NBA franchise and our athletes love to be linked with NBA players.”

Shumard was among those who spoke at the dinner reception, which was hosted by legendary Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler. Lawler vibrantly introduced each player seated in the room, saying, “We’ve got something special on our hands [this season],” before passing the microphone to Head Coach Vinny Del Negro.

In past seasons Del Negro has played in the tournament, but due to a morning practice session at the team’s Playa Vista Training Facility he was relegated to joining the party after many of the sunburn-faced golfers were already returning to the clubhouse.

“I’m excited about the season,” he told the audience in the golf club’s dining room. “I’m excited about the players and not only their talent, but the type of character they have.”

After arriving around 4 p.m. the players and coaches mingled with golfers during a one-hour mixer where all in attendance were able to bid via silent auction on a number of items, including a Blake Griffin autographed shoe, Chris Paul Team USA autographed picture, Derek Jeter autographed photo, hot air balloon ride, champagne set, various vacation packages and more.

Along with current team personnel, Lamond Murray and Olden Polynice were among the former Clippers on-hand as well as Olympic Gold Medalist and famous decathlete Rafer Johnson.