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Lakers 19th Annual Golf Tournament A Hit

Mitch KupchakCharity is often more meaningful when it helps children, which is why Monday’s 19th Annual Lakers Celebrity Golf Invitational at the Riviera Country Club was particularly successful.

Thanks to an event-filled day and some terrific items for both silent and live auction formats, over $100,000 was raised to benefit the Lakers Youth Foundation.

“Although it was a challenge to raise funds in this economy, the money raised from this event has never been more crucial to our community,” said Lakers Director of Charitable Services Janie Drexel. “Since we are seeing a dramatic increase in the amount of requests from organizations who are struggling to keep their programs going for the youth in the Los Angeles area, we are thrilled that with the help of our Lakers players, coaches and staff, along with our organization’s sponsors and fans, the 19th annual event was again a success.”

The day started with a tasty brunch at Riviera’s clubhouse, which preceded a scramble golf tournament featuring various Lakers sponsors paired with Lakers legends like James Worthy and Elgin Baylor, TV personalities such as the E! Network’s Joel McHale and KCAL’s Jackie Johnson as well as each Laker broadcaster and other notables including Frank Robinson and Kenny Lofton.

Subsequently, the golfers changed clothes and joined others at a cocktail reception and silent auction featuring items as varied as autographed Lakers jerseys, balls and shoes, vacations destinations and jewelry. The entire Lakers team and coaching staff then arrived to meet and greet fans, take pictures, sign autographs and even sink some puts on respective mini greens inside the clubhouse.

After enjoying some steak, potatoes and veggies, many patrons participated in a live auction featuring the following items: Dr. Buss’ luxury suite for a Kings game; two first class tickets to New York plus hotel accommodation; floor seats to a coming Lakers game; a Fender Guitar autographed by the team; Jaermann and Stubi Limited Edition men’s watch; and two American Airlines tickets to New York plus six nights in a Hilton family hotel.

Of course, the primary function of the entire day at Riviera was to help kids through the Lakers Youth Foundation:

The Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation’s goal is to assist nonprofit community organizations based on need. With the Foundation’s focus on the use of sports to promote education, teamwork and self-esteem among Los Angeles area youth, our fundraising directly supports these initiatives by providing financial assistance to children and local youth programs.

Who can argue with that?

Lakers Host Season of Giving Party

Holiday GroupAs part of the Lakers “A Season of Giving” campaign, the team hosted its annual holiday party for underprivileged children on Saturday. Ninety children from the Asian Youth Center, Boys & Girls Club of West San Gabriel Valley and Heart of Los Angeles Youth enjoyed a holiday luncheon, played interactive games with Lakers players and the Laker Girls, took photos, received autographs and were presented with Lakers gifts.

Everybody wins, right?

For the second year in a row, East West Bank was the presenting sponsor of the Lakers “A Season of Giving” campaign which focuses on spreading holiday cheer and providing assistance to thousands of less fortunate children and adults in the community. Events this year included a Thanksgiving meal serving at the Boys & Girls Club of Venice, a book drive, a toy drive and the 4th Annual “Wish Night with the Lakers” to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles.

Harry & JustinNow that we got all the details in there, we can focus on the main attraction: Harry and Justin (pictured).

Harry and Justin, in a chat we had at the event, detailed their love of Kobe’s crossover dribble (good choice), opted for crazy dunks over three-pointers, revealed their second-favorite player (Derek Fisher and Dwyane Wade) and revealed who would win if they played 1-on-1 (not telling). Shockingly, Harry and Justin didn’t mind interacting with the Laker girls, either. After making the rounds, their second-favorite player took a few moments to talk:

“Any time we get to directly interact with kids in particular, it’s always great,” said Fisher. “I think it’s important for these young people to actually get to touch us and see us, see how tall we really are, and know that we’re real people.”

For more information on the party, check out the story on our Community Page