December 21, 2007 - Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson routinely tells inner city youth that his first passion was basketball.
On January 26, 2008, Granderson will have the opportunity to show just how good he could have been in basketball when he hosts the 1 st Annual Curtis Granderson/Grand Kids Foundation Celebrity Basketball Game at Avondale High School in Auburn Hills, Mich. The doors will open at 5 p.m. and the opening tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.
Adult admission is $15 and admission for children 10 and under is $10. Following the game, Granderson and some of the game's participants will autograph photos, baseballs and take pictures with fans for an additional $10. All proceeds from the game and autograph session will be donated to the Grand Kids Foundation and split evenly between the cities of Detroit and Flint.
Tickets can be purchased at www.GrandKidsFoundation.org.
"I am not only excited for this event because I finally get to showcase my basketball skills, but I am excited because I believe this game will begin to provide us with the financial resources to make a large impact in the inner cities, specifically Detroit and Flint," Granderson said.
"The importance of education is something I cannot stress enough to our nation's youth, and I want to help find ways to ease the burden within some of these inner city schools while also striving to make learning more fun. Facilities and supplies are old and worn, classrooms are overcrowded and scholarship programs are limited. This celebrity basketball game can help to change that."
The theme of the game is Detroit All-Stars vs. Flint All-Stars. While more celebrities are expected to commit as the game draws closer, some big names have already agreed to play.
Those who have committed include former Univ. of Michigan and NFL stars Tyrone Wheatley (Inkster, Mich.) and Andre Weathers (Flint, Mich.), former Michigan State Univ. and NFL star Courtney Hawkins (Flint, Mich.), former NBA star Jeff Grayer (Flint, Mich.), professional boxer with as 12-0 record Anthony Dirrell (Flint, Mich.) and UFC star and The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 champion Rashad Evans, a graduate of Michigan State Univ.
"The caliber of athletes that have committed so far is tremendous. It also shows their dedication and commitment to making a difference within their communities. Fans can see a pro boxer, a UFC star, an NBA player and a bunch of football players coming together for one cause," Granderson added.
With the game so close to baseball's Spring Training, Granderson will not play in the actual game. However, he will compete in a three-point shootout at halftime against his Detroit Tigers teammate, Nate Robertson. Each player will represent a raffle ticket buyer, and the winner's buyer will get to have lunch with Granderson and join him for a private batting practice session at Comerica Park.
Other great prizes will also be raffled off.
Granderson will serve as the coach of the Detroit All-Stars while Robertson will coach the Flint All-Stars.
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.