Derek Harper, the former Dallas Mavericks point guard and current Mavs TV analyst, knows basketball. But how are Harp’s bowling skills?
“I will break 100 consistently, but that's about it for me,” Harper said Thursday night at the the inaugural ALS Celebrity Bowling Classic at the newly remodeled Main Event in Grapevine. “I've had good rounds, but bowling is one of those games that can be deceiving because you think you need to roll the ball as hard as you can, but you really just need to lay it down properly and you can work magic.”
But when Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett, who headlined the event, came calling, Harp and other celebrities were ready to roll for a cause.
“Tony Dorsett gave me the opportunity to be here at this event,” Harper said. “I'm not here in Dallas a lot during the summer, but after getting the phone call from Tony, I made sure to be here tonight to support this special cause.”
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Along with Dorsett and Harper were former Cowboys Charles Haley, Randy White and Mel Renfro, former Texas Ranger Michael Young and gymnast Carly Patterson.
“My family and I have always enjoyed going to Main Event, so I’m looking forward to being a part of this fun and important fundraiser for a great organization like the ALS Association,” Dorsett said.
The event got underway with PBA and PWBA pros Chris and Lynda Barnes putting on a trick-shot exhibition. One of the highlights had Haley, Young and Harper sitting in chairs on the lane and Chris Barnes bowling a ball underneath their seats for a strike.
While the bowling was underway, the familiar faces were mingling with the crowd, posing for photos and signing autographs on items from pictures to ALS-logoed bowling pins.
Young, the former Rangers great, was also very accessible to the fans on hand.
“When I got the phone call about taking part in this event, it was an easy 'yes' for me,” Young said. “Whenever I see an athlete do everything they can to give back to the community, it strikes a chord with me. I've done three bowling events for my foundation and I know the time and commitment it takes to make something like this happen.
“Being here tonight,” Young continued. “I've had the chance to speak to a few families that have been affected by ALS and it's really nice to see their courage and how they are sticking together as families to deal with it.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease” — is a rare group of neurological diseases that mainly involve the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement, affecting everyday activities down to breathing and walking. It’s a progressive disease, and there is no known cure. Playwright/actor Sam Shepard recently died from complications of ALS.
All of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the ALS Association, the only national not-for-profit organization completely dedicated to fighting ALS.
The ALS Association and the Texas Chapter operate under a shared mission to discover treatments and a cure for ALS and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.
“We are extremely proud to host this ALS fundraiser at the newly remodeled center in Grapevine,” said Charlie Keegan, CEO of Main Event Entertainment. “It’s going to be a great time for a great cause, and a chance to meet some legendary athletes in a fun, intimate setting.”
For further information, visit alstexas.org.
Follow Jay Betsill on Twitter at @TheFamousJay