Janaury 4, 2008 - The 1st Annual Curtis Granderson/Grand Kids Foundation Celebrity Basketball Game slated for Jan. 26 at Auburn Hills Avondale High School became more star-studded today as the newest Detroit Tiger, pitcher Dontrelle Willis, agreed to participate as a guest referee for the game. Joining Willis in a striped shirt will be Tigers outfielder Marcus Thames.
Detroit Lions offensive lineman and Flint native Barry Stokes has also agreed to participate as a member of the Flint All-Stars.
Joining the Detroit All-Stars team will be former NBA sharpshooter Willie Burton, Survivor 3 contestant and current WDFN DJ Clarence Black along with star high school football player Jonas Gray, who will play football at Notre Dame next year.
"I am grateful that so many great celebrities from the state of Michigan are jumping on board with this," said Granderson, the center fielder for the Detroit Tigers. "As this game draws closer, it is exciting to think of the great things we may be able to do for the school systems in Detroit and Flint."
The doors open at 5 pm and the game begins at 6. Tickets for the game are $15 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. Some of the athletes, including Granderson, Willis, Wheatley and Evans will participate in an autograph session following the game. Tickets for the autograph session are $10 and restrictions do apply. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.GrandKidsFoundation.org.
All proceeds from the game and autograph session will be donated to the Grand Kids Foundation and split evenly between the public school systems in the cities of Detroit and Flint.
Game tickets will also serve as raffle tickets, with the grand prizes being a lunch and private batting practice with Granderson, and sitting in Granderson's seats for the Tigers' June 28 battle against the National League champion Colorado Rockies.
Other committed game participants include former NBA star Jeff Grayer (Flint), former NFL stars Courtney Hawkins (Flint), Andre Weathers (Flint) and Tyrone Wheatley (Detroit), UFC star Rashad Evans (Michigan State Univ.) and professional boxer Anthony Dirrell (Flint). Granderson and Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson will serve as honorary coaches.
ABOUT GRAND KIDS FOUNDATION:
Founded in December, 2006 by Curtis Granderson, the Grand Kids Foundation aims to enrich the educational experiences for children within the inner cities. Curtis' passion for education comes through his family, as both of his parents worked as educators in Chicago while his sister is a professor at Jackson State University. Curtis himself is one of a limited number of Major League Baseball players with a college degree, graduating from the Univ. of Illinois-Chicago in 2003 with degrees in Business Marketing and Business Management.
This past school year, the Grand Kids Foundation held a major art and essay contest with the entire Detroit Public Schools system. Grand Prize winners (8 in all) received school visits from him. Curtis then invited another 70 children and one guest to a Detroit Tigers game. The funds will be dispersed to specific schools and programs as approved by the Grand Kids Foundation.