I attended Curtis Granderson’s charity hoops game last night, and it would have to be considered a success. According to Jon Paul Morosi there were over 1700 fans in attendance at Avondale High School. The game featured the Detroit All Stars coached by Granderson against the Flint All Stars skippered by Nate Robertson.
The Detroit team, featuring Desmond Howard, Braylon Edwards, and Willie Burton ended up on top in a game that was made closer than it should have been by some horrible officiating from guest referee Dontrelle Willis. Edwards, who took home MVP honors actually seemed to be pretty irritated as Dontrelle made up calls to keep the game close down the stretch. Edwards came to play and he actually did play defense and had a few impressive dunks. He also hurdled the ball rack to dunk during half time.
Willis was very entertaining and an absolute clown who seemed to genuinely be having a great time. When questioned about his calls early on he retorted along the lines of “I came up all the way from Florida for this and I’ll throw everyone in this gym out if I have to.” He did throw out both Granderson and Robertson. Robertson offered to let Willis wear his glasses if it would help.
The half time show was a three point shoot out between Granderson and Robertson. Curtis won going away as Robertson couldn’t recover from a tough 1 for 10 in the first round.
Now with a crowd that big there were some frustrations. Doors opened at 5pm and I arrived with my kids at that time and waited for 25 minutes in the will call line while those who hadn’t pre-purchased tickets were able to walk right up and get them. Either mailing out tickets ahead of time, or having multiple lines for will call differentiated by last name would probably help next year.
Also, some were frustrated with the autograph process. Autograph tickets were sold for a signing session after the game. Even though the tickets were capped at 500, that still makes for a long line and a long wait considering it took the players a little while to get showered and start signing. There’s really nothing that can be done on that front. I did hear complaints from people around me who were upset that only Dontrelle and Curtis were signing. Many had brought UM football helmets and footballs hoping for Edwards and Howard (and probably Tyrone Wheatley who was scheduled to appear but didn’t). My take is that the autograph ticket cost $10 and it was being done for charity. I’m not sure what people really expected.
Even with the hiccups it was a great night for a great cause. It’s also great to see a young athlete be able to rally as much support as Granderson was able to attract.