(2010) Fundraiser: Harlem Ambassadors take court to help Habitat

(2010) Fundraiser: Harlem Ambassadors take court to help Habitat

The Daily Herald Staff / March 5, 2010

JACKSON — Elton Stephens is looking forward to being one of The Habitat Hoopsters on Friday, March 12.

“It makes you want to give back to the community,” he said.

He and others from the Valley will show off their skills on the hardwood against the Harlem Ambassadors, tip off is at 7 p.m. at Northampton West STEM High School in Gaston.

Stephens was once a high school basketball coach.

“I saw the impact sports had on the kids, who enjoyed it, and the parents who came to support,” he said. “It is a great form of entertainment for parents, children and the community.”

Along with Stephens, 10 individuals have signed up to be a Habitat Hoopster, including five members of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. The roster includes Kaeissa Bollenbacher, Marlam Sheridan, Eddie Harris Jr., Frank Terranova, Jeff Ellen, Jeff Ramsey and K.J. Whitfield.

The Habitat Hoopsters will be coached by Gilbert Portela, administrator and founder of Angel’s Closet.

Portela said it will be a wonderful event.

“I hope the community will get behind it and support it,” he said. “It’s going to be an experience that will stick with you.”

He remembers seeing the Harlem Globetrotters as a youth.

“It’s an experience I’ve never forgotten,” he said. “These basketball players (The Ambassadors) are extremely talented. It will be an experience.”

This event will benefit the Halifax/Northampton Habitat for Humanity.

Gregory Thompson, who is on Habitat’s board of directors, said Habitat has a goal of being able to build up to two houses per year.

“This fundraiser is a step in reaching this goal,” he said. “It’s not just a fundraiser, but a way for kids to have fun.”

He added Habitat works to help persons be able to purchase a home at an affordable mortgage.

“It is a blessing that 90 percent of the work is done by volunteers,” he said.

Sheree Anderson, who is coordinating the event, said players are still needed for the team. And those who play will have an opportunity to have dinner with the team afterwards. Team members must raise $100 in donations or ticket sales.

Players must be at least 19 years old. They cannot have collegiate eligibility remaining or qualify for athletic scholarships.

The Ambassadors are a group of 17 men and women who offer a unique brand of Harlem-style basketball featuring high flying slam dunks, dazzling ball-handling tricks and hilarious comedy routines.

The team travels the world working with not-for-profit groups and other organizations to raise money and deliver a positive message to youth.

Anderson said, “There will be positive messages (stay in school and stay off drugs) throughout the game. It’s strongly encouraged for youth to attend this event.”

The game will be divided into four nine-minute quarters. The first and third quarters are more fast paced while the second and fourth involve elaborate comedy and the pace is slower.

Tickets for the game are $5 for students/seniors and $7 for adults in advance and $7 students/seniors and $9 adult at the door. Children age 4 and under will be admitted free. Concessions will be sold at game and includes hot dogs, baked goods, drinks and candy.

Tickets are being sold at the Halifax/Northampton Habitat for Humanity, 14 E. 2nd Street in Roanoke Rapids (Hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.); Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce, 260 Premier Blvd. in Roanoke Rapids; Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, 102 E. Jefferson in Jackson; and Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce, 2475 Eatons Ferry Road in Littleton.

For tickets or more information call Anderson at 252-536-1891 or Rachel Lander at 252- 673-3215 or 252-537-3008.

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