NFL stars on the basketball court in Americus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

NFL stars on the basketball court in Americus

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June 13, 2008

Americus -- Arizona Cardinals tight-end Leonard Pope is holding his 2nd annual All-Star Event in his hometown of Americus this weekend, to benefit his C.H.A.M.P. Foundation for kids.

C.H.A.M.P. stands for "Creating Hope And Making Progress."

The weekend kicked off with a celebrity basketball game Friday night, and the competition was fierce.

Fans packed into the Americus high school gym to catch a glimpse of NFL stars at the second annual Leonard Pope All-Star weekend celebrity basketball game.

The game featured the Arizona Cardinal tight end and athletes from Americus against the NFL players.

Pope's team was on the wrong side of the scoreboard last year.

"We got to win, because last year they beat us by 1 or 2 points, so we got to get our revenge this year," says Pope.

Saints defensive end Charles Grant wanted to make it two wins in a row.

"It's going to be fierce, but you can give me about 36 points," said Grant. "Probably win MVP."

Lions safety Greg Blue says he has no doubt his teammate will be shooting for Most Valuable Player.

"If he don't get it, he tried to get it," said Blue, with a smile.  "He's going to shoot 40 shots."

Grant says it's important for the professional athletes to give back.

"When you're blessed in a situation like us, it's always great to give back to the community," says Grant.

Pope says having the support of the other players helps make his event a success.

"A lot of the times, a lot of us are from the country, the surrounding counties, so we just come out and try to support each other," says Pope.

Pope's team got its revenge this year, winning 79-74.

The Leonard Pope All-Star Weekend continues Saturday with a Kid's Day and Cookout at Boone Park.

Boone Park is located at 350 Rucker Street in Americus.

Admission is free.

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