Former football pros take on local team in charity basketball game - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Former football pros take on local team in charity basketball game

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Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2012 1:16 pm | Updated: 3:42 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

The game is for charity, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be competitive.

Squaring off for the fifth time in five years, a local men’s basketball team will take on a group that includes former Arizona Cardinals players and other professional athletes.

With the series tied at two games apiece, the Ahwatukee team and the celebrity team, headed by Robert Tate, will play a rubber match at the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA, 1030 E. Liberty Lane, on Sunday, June 3. The game tips off at 2 p.m. and is open to the public.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for kids. The proceeds will be split between the Robert Tate Foundation and the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA Strong Kids and Families Campaign. There will also be raffles of sports memorabilia and other items.

Players will be available for autographs for the kids in attendance before and after the game. One of the Ahwatukee players said some kids will even get to shoot free throws for the teams in the first half of the game.

“It’s a lot of fun for the kids, we keep them engaged with it and of course they love autographs and seeing these players up close,” Ahwatukee resident and player Joseph Brown said. “It’s a good basketball game, and we keep the crown entertained.”

Robert Tate will be playing with others such as Martay Jenkins, Mike Bankston and Matt Turner, all former Cardinals players. Brown said that there will be others who Tate hasn’t revealed yet.

“He always has a couple up his sleeve as a surprise,” he said.

It is a good match up, Brown added, because basketball isn’t the first sport for the players on the celebrity team. Brown’s team is made up of “guys in their late 30s, early 40s.”

“I always say we play old man basketball,” he said. “We know each other, we’ve played together for a long time. And these guys are just unbelievable athletes.”

There is room for about 250 viewers and Brown said they hope to raise a couple thousand dollars for the two organizations. Last year they raised more than $3,000.

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