SALT LAKE CITY — Monday's Pro Players Charity Classic will feature Utah Jazz players, Jimmer Fredette and other NBA athletes, but organizer Larry Fox doesn't just focus on the high-caliber talent that will play in the exhibition game.
Fox is excited to see the faces of the four children who will have wishes granted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He looks forward to watching Special Olympics athletes play at halftime. He's anticipating the excitement of kids who'll be there from the Ronald McDonald House and the AI Foundation.
While it will be a rare night of basketball action involving local favorites during the NBA lockout, Fox sees it as a "special moment" for children who'll benefit from the charities designated to receive donations from the net proceeds. (Tickets are available at smithstix.com.)
And Fox says the players involved — many of whom work with these particular charities — are equally excited for the charitable aspect. He believes that — and the up-close-and-personal touch that the night will present — are "the beauty of the event."
"Players want to give back to the community," Fox said. "Players want to show the fans they do care."
Fox says the night will give Utah hoops fans "a real different flavor" of fun.
Doors at SLCC's Lifetime Activities Center will open an hour before the 7 p.m. tipoff, giving fans a chance to rub shoulders, get pictures and take autographs. Fox said players will hang out longer than usual after the game and mingle with the public, too. Cheerleaders and acrobatic dunkers will enhance the game-night atmosphere.
Players will also interact with fans during some timeout promotions and giveaways.
"Everybody's going to leave with a good feeling after the game," Fox said.
As for the game, it will pit Jazz players against an NBA group.
Jazz commits include Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Devin Harris, Jeremy Evans, rookies Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, and free-agents-to-be Earl Watson and Ronnie Price. Representing the NBA: Fredette, Wesley Matthews, Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Corey Maggette and Anthony Tolliver, among others to be announced.
Whatever happens — or doesn't happen — this weekend regarding the lockout and negotiations between players and owners won't affect the exhibition.
"The game," Fox added, "will go on no matter what."
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: DJJazzyJody