Charity tourney Magic-ly brings out NBA stars

August 22, 1991|By Alan Goldstein

No formal poll has been conducted, but the NBA's seven-month season of one-night stands is considered the most arduous of the major professional sports.

Even so, many NBA players spent their off-seasons barnstorming the country to play in summer leagues or charity events.

The year-round activity is not restricted to young players or bench-warmers.

Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, Bernard King and Ron Harper will be participating at the Capital Centre tomorrow night in a benefit for the I Have A Dream Foundation, which provides financial and academic assistance to underprivileged students in the Washington area.

The game is being held in conjunction with a roast tonight of Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld at the Sheraton Washington Hotel. With 10,000 game tickets sold, Bullets president Susan O'Malley hopes to raise $250,000 for the student fund, a favorite charity of Bullets owner Abe Pollin.

With only 10 weeks to organize the event, signing high-profile players became a major concern of O'Malley and game sponsors.

"I really would have liked a full year to prepare for this game," said O'Malley. "As it is, we're competing with charity basketball games in Dallas and Atlanta this week."

But the Capital Centre's "Magic For Dreamers" benefit has Magic Johnson as one of its major sponsors. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar is an old hand at staging charity events, having raised more than $5 million in the past six years for the United Negro College Fund by staging an annual all-star game in Los Angeles.

The reason Johnson is using his leverage for this event? Last year, he made a major investment in a Pepsi bottling plant in suburban Washington, and promised also to become active in the community in youth affairs.

Two Bullets -- point guard Michael Adams and center-forward Pervis Ellison -- will be appearing tomorrow night after recently competing in Washington's Urban Coalition League.

"Basketball has become a year-round game," said Adams, re-acquired by the Bullets in a June trade with the Denver Nuggets.

"If you lay off all summer, you'll lose your competitive edge. Every year I've been in the NBA, I've kept busy in the off-season, and I've yet to suffer burnout."

Facts and figures

What: NBA players participating in "Magic For Dreamers," a charity basketball game to benefit the I Have A Dream Foundation for underprivileged students in the Washington area.

Where: Capital Centre, Landover, tomorrow night, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $30, $22.50 and $17.50. Call Ticketmaster, (202) 432-0200.

Rosters:

King's Court

Player, Pos. Team

Bernard King, F Bullets

Michael Adams, G Bullets

Charles Barkley, F 76ers

John Battle, G Cavaliers

Tim Hardaway, G Warriors

Johnny Newman, F Hornets

Drazen Petrovic, G Nets

Rony Seikaly, C Heat

Dennis Scott, G/F Magic

Scott Skiles, G Orlando

Head coach: Wes Unseld

Magic's Dreamers

Magic Johnson, G Lakers

Pervis Ellison, F/C Bullets

Alex English, F Mavericks

Kendall Gill, G Hornets

Ron Harper, G Clippers

Chris Mullin, F Warriors

Ricky Pierce, G SuperSonics

Pooh Richardson, G Timberwolves

Rumeal Robinson, G Hawks

Lionel Simmons, F Kings

Head coach: Frank Robinson

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