Basketball aims at stopping violence

By Greg Gelpi

In contrast to the hard-nosed elbow-throwing style of basketball, a charity basketball game Thursday night is designed to reduce violence among students.

MAD hoopsters are sending out an SOS in hopes of rescuing students from violent behavior.

The fifth annual Making a Difference (MAD) basketball game will highlight Saving Our Students (SOS) festivities.

The Harlem Legends Globetrotters will battle a host of local "legends" in a charity event at 6:07 p.m. Thursday at North Clayton Middle School.

"The biggest thing is the awareness of violence," Fred Hill, organizer of the event, said. "I try to bring us together outside the walls of the schools."

Wizardry and ball tricks will dazzle the crowd as part of the Putting Out Violence in Education event.

Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. A portion of the proceeds will go to North Clayton Middle School and Saving Our Students Globetrotters Foundation.

Last year, Globetrotter Legends edged the Clayton County All-Stars by one point, but Clayton vows to avenge the loss.

The Clayton team consists of a variety of teachers, administrators and law enforcement, while the Globetrotter Legends have a combination of former Globetrotters and NBA players.

Although the Globetrotter Legends aren't the Globetrotters, they will bring the same dazzling ball handling and tricks as the original Globetrotters.

Members of the Globetrotter team include Antoine Scott, Larry "Shorty" Coleman and Bobby Butler, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons.

"When I learn the secret to beating the Globetrotters, I'll let you know," Shawn Goree, a first-grade teacher at River's Edge Elementary and member of the All-Stars, said laughing. "The secret is finding really really good players."

Practicing their backboard passes and reverse dunks, the All-Stars prepared to beat the Globetrotters while also promoting non-violence among students.

"My prediction is that everyone is going to have fun," Goree said. "As far the game, I have no prediction."

Adding excitement to the game will be a mix of step teams, dance teams and cheerleaders from throughout the county entertaining the crowds.