WNBA Stars Celebrate Social Responsibility and Youth Education at NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles

Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson headline WNBA players at NBA All-Star
NBAE/Getty Images

NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2011 -- The WNBA and its players will continue their long-standing commitment to social responsibility, community service and youth education at NBA All-Star 2011 in Los Angeles. WNBA stars are scheduled to take part in over 30 events, Feb. 17-21, highlighted by the Haier Shooting Stars competition as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm.

WNBA participation will tip off on Wednesday, Feb. 16 with the annual NBA Cares All-Star Community Caravan taking place at Los Angeles’ South Park Elementary School highlighted by an NBA Cares Reading Rally and the dedication of a newly refurbished technology center featuring new HP computers and printers, followed by a visit to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. WNBA players participating will include Candice Wiggins of the Minnesota Lynx, Katie Smith and Lindsey Harding of the Washington Mystics, and Ticha Penicheiro of the Los Angeles Sparks.

On Thursday, Feb. 17, three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player and Vaccines for Teens spokesperson, Lisa Leslie will join NBA Legend Bob Lanier and public health officials for a Vaccines for Teens event, hosted in collaboration with the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) and sanofi pasteur at a local middle school to discuss the importance of vaccinations. Marion Jones of the Tulsa Shock and WNBA Legend Sheryl Swoopes, and NBA and NBA Development League stars will participate in the NBA/WNBA FIT All-Star Youth Celebration, which will include physical fitness instruction and health education for 500 local youth from Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA. The event will promote the importance of living a healthy active lifestyle for children and families.

Swin Cash of the 2010 WNBA champion Seattle Storm and Tamika Catchings, four-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year of the Indiana Fever, will also play in the BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, Feb. 18, alongside teen pop sensation Justin Bieber, late-night show host Jimmy Kimmel, and NBA Legends Bill Walton, Chris Mullin, Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen among others.

As part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, WNBA players will team up again with current NBA players and NBA Legends from the same local market to compete in the Haier Shooting Stars competition. Players taking part in the competition include Cathrine Kraayeveld of the Chicago Sky, Coco Miller of the Atlanta Dream, the Sparks’ Thompson and Roneeka Hodges of the San Antonio Silver Stars. Additional details on the Haier Shooting Stars competition, including other participating players, can be found in the highlights below.

Fans can catch all their favorite WNBA players throughout the week at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas, Feb. 18-21 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, featuring player meet-and-greets, fitness clinics and autograph sessions. Fans will be able to follow all the action online through editorial, photos and video served up on WNBA.com, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The following are highlights of activities WNBA players will participate in at NBA All-Star 2011:

Feb. 16 – NBA Cares All-Star Community Caravan – The annual NBA Cares All-Star Community Caravan tips off at Los Angeles’ South Park Elementary School with an NBA Cares Reading Rally and the dedication of a newly refurbished technology center featuring new HP computers and printers, followed by a visit to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Throughout the six-day Community Caravan – an effort highlighted by the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service on Friday, Feb. 18 – the NBA family, including All-Stars, NBA and WNBA players and legends, and NBA Development League players will join NBA executives, partners, and guests to work together on more than 30 hands-on service projects and activities designed to leave a lasting impact on Los Angeles communities.

The NBA Cares All-Star Community Caravan continues through Monday, Feb. 21, with events including a Special Olympics clinic, Dribble to Stop Diabetes clinics in partnership with the American Diabetes Association and sanofi-aventis U.S., a Vaccines for Teens event in collaboration with the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) and sanofi pasteur, wheelchair basketball clinics, and an NBA/WNBA FIT All-Star Youth Celebration for 500 local boys and girls in collaboration with the Let’s Move! campaign. In addition, more than 3,500 Los Angeles students from more than 50 local schools will attend the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam through the T-Mobile All-Stars program to reward their outstanding academic and community service achievements. Throughout NBA All-Star, NBA players will also treat five children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation and their families to unforgettable experiences.

Feb. 16 – NWBA All-Star Wheelchair Basketball Clinic – National Wheelchair Basketball Association All-Stars, NBA Legends and current WNBA players, Smith and Wiggins, will host a wheelchair basketball clinic for 30 local wheelchair-bound youth athletes at Alpine Recreation Center. The clinic will provide wheelchair-bound athletes the opportunity to learn from some of the best wheelchair basketball players in the United States.

Feb. 17 – NBA Cares ‘Vaccines for Teens’ – NBA Cares, SAHM and sanofi pasteur will host a vaccination awareness event at Lou Dantzler Middle School in Los Angeles. Event participants, including current and former NBA and WNBA players, as well as local public health officials, will discuss the importance of vaccination during the school assembly style event.

Feb. 17 – NBA/WNBA FIT All-Star Youth Celebration – Cash, Catchings, Jones, Lynette Woodard, the first female member of the world famous Harlem Globetrotters, Swoopes and Thompson will join current and former NBA and NBA D-League players at the Expo Center to teach over 500 local youths from Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, the Boys and Girls Club, and YMCA about the importance of physical activity and healthy living. The event will include a variety of fitness stations that provide physical fitness instruction and health education while incorporating basketball fun.

Feb. 17 – NWBA All-Star Game – The Wheelchair Classic, held at Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session, will feature two dozen of the most outstanding wheelchair basketball players in the world. Smith and Wiggins, along with other NBA Legends will serve as honorary coaches.

Feb. 18 – BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game – Cash and Catchings will team up with celebrities from TV, film, music and other NBA Legends to compete in the BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Center Court at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas.

Feb. 18 – NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service – Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics, Penicheiro and Wiggins will join more than 1,500 members of the NBA family, including All-Stars, Legends, partners and volunteers at Theresa Lindsay Center, Virgil Middle School, and Frederick Douglass Elementary School to create and refurbish eight places to live, learn and play in partnership with Rebuilding Together, City Year, and KaBoom!.

Feb. 19 – Marion Jones Book Signing – Jones, a member of the Tulsa Shock and a former world champion track and field athlete, will host an autograph session at NBA All-Star Jam Session to promote her new book, On the Right Track: From Olympic Downfall to Finding Forgiveness and the Strength to Overcome and Succeed. The book is a candidly told story of how Jones came to grips with the consequences of her actions, and how she found meaning in all of it. Copies of On the Right Track will be available for purchase on-site.

Feb. 19 – NBA All-Star Fit Race, Walk & Dribble – The inaugural event will take place at Staples Center, Lot 7, where runners, walkers, and dribblers of all ages and speeds are welcome to participate by signing up at www.nbaallstar5k.com. The event will feature appearances from NBA and WNBA Legends and mascots, an NBA/WNBA FIT Warm Up, live music, interactive games, refreshments, and more. The top male and female in the 5K will each take home two tickets to the 60th NBA All-Star Game.

Feb. 19 – Haier Shooting Stars – As part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Staples Center, Hodges, Kraayeveld, Miller and Thompson will team up with current NBA players and NBA Legends from their respective local markets in the Haier Shooting Stars contest.

The home team from Los Angeles, which won the inaugural Haier Shooting Stars competition in 2004, includes the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, who was selected to his fourth All-Star Game, NBA Legend Rick Fox, a three-time NBA champion with the Lakers (2000-02), and Thompson, the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader and a member of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Team Atlanta features the Hawks’ Al Horford, who was named to his second consecutive All-Star Game this year; Miller of the reigning Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream; and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith, an All-Star selection in 1998 with the Hawks and a member of the 2003 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. Team Chicago is comprised of the Chicago Bulls’ Taj Gibson, who will represent the Sophomores in the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam to be held Feb. 18 at Staples center; the Chicago Sky’s Kraayeveld, one the WNBA’s best long-range shooters; and TNT NBA Analyst Steve Kerr, a five-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls (1996-98) and San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003).

Defending champion Team Texas is represented by Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the organization’s all-time leading scorer and one of only 24 NBA players to have scored at least 22,000 points; the San Antonio Silver Stars’ Hodges, who last season averaged a career-high 3.2 rebounds to go along with 7.7 points; and TNT analyst Kenny Smith, a two-time NBA champion with the Houston Rockets (1994, 1995).

* Dates, times and participants subject to change.
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