In 10 years, when they ask the NBA's biggest stars who inspired them to greatness, the answer may not be Michael Jordan or Dwyane Wade. It might be Lil Wayne.
Weezy was one of a handful of celebrities who joined the seventh and eighth grade South Beach All Stars amateur athletic union team Saturday for Celebrity Court of Dreams, a charity game at American Airlines Arena
. The kids had the chance to be coached by and even play alongside the stars, all to benefit their championship team.
Check out our photos from the game after the jump.
For South Beach AllStars AAU team organizer and sponsor Michael Lipman, the game of basketball reaches far beyond the court. "We want to teach these kids to make healthy choices in life," Lipman said. "To start with -- eating healthy, doing well in school, and respecting family and authority."
Through his Tickets of America
and White Glove International companies, Lipman compiled and sponsored the AAU team and connected with Lil Wayne and other celebrities to put together what turned out to be a wonderful event benefiting the South Beach All Stars. With the list of expenses associated with running a championship AAU team, they need all the help they can get.
"We compete with elite teams on the national level athletically," Lipman said during his pre-game address. "But what's important is that we compete in the classroom. And we plan on being with you through it all -- from the moment you put on that jersey to the time you are entering a Division I college or even the NBA."
"This program teaches kids patience and respect for authority and each other." said Elvin Taylor, who Lipman called a wonderful dad and mentor. "Its not just about basketball -- it teaches them to deal with emotions and choices."
Lil Wayne coached the YMCMB All Stars, and Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie coached the South Beach All Stars. Halfway through the game, however, Lil Wayne switched sides and joined the kids on their team.
The kids were treated to a surprise when Bow Wow showed up and helped carry the South Beach All Stars to a slim one-point win over YMCMB.
"Whatever dream you have, don't quit," Wayne told the kids in between horseplay. "Don't let anyone try and stop you."
The South Beach AllStars participate in activities all year long, including the Wade-Jordan competition this week between Division I seventh and eight graders. Players are literally recruited right off neighborhood basketball courts and school gyms across Miami.
For more information, visit facebook.com/southbeachallstars
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