Clippers Take Part In 16th Annual Charity BasketBowl Challenge
NORWALK, Calif. – The Clippers got to use their competitiveness for a good cause alongside some of their most passionate fans on their off day Saturday following a win against the Kings.
Keystone Lanes once again hosted the 16th annual Charity BasketBowl Challenge, pairing many of the Clippers players alongside Clippers fans for a day of bowling, with proceeds benefitting both Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the L.A. Clippers Foundation.
“It’s always great to give back,” said Chris Paul. “The Clippers have done an outstanding job reaching out to the community and showing it’s more than just basketball. Our fans come out and support us every night, so it’s the least we can do.”
Clippers alumni and veteran Clippers such as Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford all participated again, while new Clippers Luc Mbah a Moute, Wesley Johnson and Jeff Green got to see what the annual event was like for the first time.
Green said it’s important to give back to fans, who stand by the players through thick and thin, and experiences such as the BasketBowl event help the fans get to know players off the court as people.
“It means a lot,” Green said. “I try to take the time out, especially myself, to speak with kids, just to put a smile on their face, to have fun, to get to know me as a person.”
In addition to getting to bowl and interact with the Clippers, the participating fans were also treated to giveaways and an awards reception. There was a silent auction, where fans could bid on everything from team autographed basketballs, hats, shoes, jerseys and pictures, to various getaways and trips. The auction also included some non-Clippers items, including a Los Angeles Kings autographed stick and a Stephen Strasburg autographed jersey.
Even without the bidding, the fans in attendance had a chance to win prizes, which included resort packages and getaways, golfing experiences, gift cards, event tickets and gift baskets.
When the bowling got underway, some of the competitive juices began to flow, especially for those such as Corey Maggette, who has legitimate bowling skills. Maggette said it’s cool to see how more fans come out each year, which he said is a testament to how well the team and the organization continue to grow and succeed.
“The cool thing about this, I’ve been here several times, this is the 16th year for this bowling event, and it’s for the Children’s Hospital,” Maggette said. “It’s just a great opportunity.”
Throughout the day, whenever a strike was bowled with a special red pin in front, the bowler would win 25,000 miles from American Airlines. One of the celebrities in attendance, Terrell Owens, won his entire lane free Clippers backpacks for bowling a strike in a competition. The top bowler of the day won a trip to St. Martin, while the top team bowlers received free Samsung headphones.
“It’s a fantastic event, said Keystone Lanes owner Charlie Kinstler. “It’s been a great experience for me personally as a 30-year season ticket holder, getting this thing started back in 2001 and seeing how it’s just continued to morph and grow into just this fantastic, unbelievable event where we just raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
In addition, he said the players genuinely seem to enjoy it, especially the ones who can actually bowl.
“It’s fun to see them kind of battle each other and see who’s the best,” Kinstler said. “Tonight we’re using a no-tap format, which means they only have to knock down nine pins on the first ball and they get a strike, so the scores should be a little higher.”
Still, Mbah a Moute’s not one of the ones bragging about his skills, since he never played the game until he came to the United States.
“I’m not a big bowler myself,” Mbah a Moute said, “but it’s always fun to see guys outside of basketball. Bowling’s a fun activity. Guys can get loose, relax and enjoy themselves with friends and fans. It’s just a great atmosphere.”
And, most importantly, it provided another opportunity to give back in the community by benefitting the L.A. Clippers Foundation and CHLA, which is dedicated to creating hope and building healthier futures for children and is honored as the premier children’s hospital in California.
Dawn Wilcox, CHLA’s vice president of corporate sponsorships, said it’s been terrific to partner with the Clippers, and it’s been a joy to see the players who’ve come to the hospital and interacted with the children.
“Once they sit down bedside with one of our patients and talk about the game, it takes the kids’ mind off whatever treatment or illness they’re going through,” Wilcox said. “We’ve just had such an amazing time taking them through the hospital and showing them the work we do.”