MEMPHIS, TENN. (December 14, 2009) â€“ Top NBA stars who are opponents on the court are teaming up off the court as part of Hoops for St. Jude, benefiting St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Research HospitalÂ®, one of the worldâ€™s premier pediatric cancer research centers. Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Shane Battier, Kevin Love and Steve Blake will make a donation to St. Jude for each point they score throughout the NBA season. All players will donate a minimum season-end gift of $20,000 each. In addition, veteran coach George Karl is lending support by donating $20,000 to St. Jude.
Fans can join the Hoops for St. Jude team by making a one-time or monthly donation or by pledging for points scored by any team members during the 2009-2010 season at www.hoopsforstjude.org. With a donation of $20 or more, fans will receive a commemorative Hoops for St. Jude lapel pin.
The season-long Hoops for St. Jude eBayÂ® auction of autographed sports memorabilia and other exclusive basketball items provides another way for fans to get involved. Items currently available for bid include autographed practice-worn shoes by Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Mike Bibby and
autographed basketballs from Greg Oden and the entire Toronto Raptors team. All money raised through the online auction benefits St. Jude, where no child is denied treatment because of a familyâ€™s inability to pay. To donate and to bid on the auction, visit www.hoopsforstjude.org.
Gay is encouraging all NBA fans to join the fight against childhood cancer. â€œI have had the privilege of meeting many brave St. Jude patients over the years and have seen firsthand that St. Jude is a place of hope,â€ said Gay. â€œJoin the Hoops for St. Jude team and make an important assist â€“ giving hope to children with cancer.â€
Recognizing the global impact of the groundbreaking research and lifesaving treatment, Gasol is hoping basketball fans donate to help children in the United States and countries around the world. â€œThe incredible work of St. Jude, that I had the opportunity to witness during my years in Memphis, has attracted me to this very special cause,â€ said Gasol. â€œSupporting Hoops for St. Jude is important, not only for children in the United States but for children around the world.â€
As a prostate cancer survivor and father to a son who beat thyroid cancer, Denver Nuggets NBA head coach George Karl strives to help those affected by cancer. â€œAside from basketball, there are two causes that I am passionate about â€“ our youth and cancer awareness. St. Jude combines both of my passions,â€ explained Karl. â€œNo child should ever die from cancer. The St. Jude mission of finding cures and saving children is one that resonates with me and my family.â€
â€œSt. Jude is very fortunate to have the support of these top NBA players and Coach George Karl,â€ said Richard C. Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising organization of St. Jude. â€œWe hope NBA fans will embrace the St. Jude mission and join the Hoops for St. Jude team. Together, we can give hope to children battling cancer by channeling the competitive spirit of basketball into this wonderful cause â€“ finding cures and saving children.â€
Hoops for St. Jude evolved out of the partnership between the NBA Summer League and St. Jude in 2008. NBA coaches and executives are introduced to the St. Jude mission during the NBA Summer Leagueâ€™s annual tip-off dinner.
2009-2010 Hoops for St. Jude Team
Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers
Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies
Danny Granger of the Indianapolis Pacers
Shane Battier of the Houston Rockets
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves
Steve Blake of the Portland Trailblazers
George Karl of the Denver Nuggets
About St. Jude:
St. Jude Childrenâ€™s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. Founded by late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tenn., St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the familyâ€™s inability to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization. For more information, please visit www.stjude.org.