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2019 Sports Ball

Games for Grownups, Futures for Kids

Story by Bill Bannister  | Photos by Don Perry

More than 600 supporters of Big Brothers Big Sisters turned out sporting Nike sneakers with their finest black tie attire and evening wear for the 22nd annual Sports Ball held at Memphis’ Nike headquarters. The curtained walls were lined with every kind of game imaginable, from basketball, Sno Cross and Super Cars to air hockey, Pong and table soccer. Lively music set a festive tone as special emcee Michael Blair entertained the crowd with his signature energetic style. Four fully stocked bars, including one that served up the evening’s special Appletinis, greeted partygoers who could cash in special coupons for play money to buy chips for casino games set up and staffed by dealers from Caesars Entertainment.  

The action was fast and furious at the blackjack and roulette tables as guests played for special money they could use to buy prizes at the end of the evening. In addition to a classic photo booth for a unique souvenir of the festivities, there was also a fun photo kiosk by Marcy Milman Productions where guests could don zany props for photos they could share with family and friends.  Bidding was brisk in the silent auction which included fine jewelry from Sissy’s Log Cabin and Kendra Scott, an original 45 RPM Johnny Cash record, autographed Shawn Kemp and Patrick Ewing jerseys, Sunday Brunch for two at The Peabody, gift certificates from The Dive Shop, Folks Folly and Hilton, along with Dinstuhl’s, Incredible Pizza and Enterprise Car Rental.

After bidding, guests made their way to a buffet catered by Caesars Entertainment which included shrimp and grits, pretzel dogs, short rib sliders on brioche buns, turkey Brunswick stew, a vegan black bean quesadilla, roasted asparagus spears, squash and tomatoes, as well as a carving station and a huge selection of fresh fruit laid out with a cornucopia of cold cuts and cheeses. Dessert was a spectacular production that included lemon bay custard with fresh raspberries, caviar fruit shooters, Caesar’s famous rum balls, strawberry parfaits, Snickers cheesecake tarts and a delicious selection of chocolate truffles.

Celebrities present included CW 30 championship wrestling hosts Dustin and Maria Starr, NBA star Cedric Henderson and Action News 5 anchor Joe Birch. Sports Ball 2019 was sponsored by Caesars Entertainment and FedEx with generous support from Banks Finley and White CPAs, Kroger, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Coors, ESPN and International Paper. 

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