NBA Legends, Dale Ellis and Dikembe Mutumbo Coach For A Charity Celebrity Basketball Game

Almost a decade and half ago the sports crowd filled the arena in order to watch two great players Dale Ellis and Dikembe Mutumbo play their best games in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Fast forward to Saturday, June 6, 2015 and you would have seen these two legends coaching for a charity celebrity basketball game with different titles.


NBA Legend/President of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) - Atlanta Chapter - Courtesy of


NBA Hall of Famer 2015, Dikembe Mutombo Courtesy of


National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) - Atlanta Chapter’s President Dale Ellis and NBA Hall of Famer 2015 Dikembe Mutumbo went head-to-head as their teams “tip off” this fun filled, entertaining, fund raising basketball game at The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.



Debra Bazemore and Renee Sudderth welcoming you to the NBRPA and Breakthrough Atlanta Charity basketball event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


The NBRPA is a charitable 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a two-pronged mission; to assist former NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA players as they transition to life after the game, and positively impacting communities and youth through their participation in basketball “on court” and “off court”.   legendsofbasketballwebsite


Everyone enjoying the "Meet and Greet" at the Pre-game reception - Courtesy of Harold Keeling


For this charity basketball game, the NBRPA collaborated with Monica Rodgers, Atlanta Executive Director for Breakthrough Atlanta, an organization that helps students develop their academic and social skills and study habits so they can enroll and succeed in college and life. Many free programs are offered to these students.  breakthroughatlantawebsite

Breakthrough Atlanta organization doing what they do best "helping others" - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Courtney Alexander of Breakthrough Atlanta - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


A Pre-game reception was held for the VIP guests and these two organizations including their family and friends. Everyone was enjoying himself or herself, reminiscing about their playing days and what they are doing now. Most of them were proud to say they have their own organizations while others were proud to say how they are contributing to several organizations and giving back to the communities.


Financial Advisor, Rickie Clement and NBA Retired Players, Mike Glenn and Reggie Johnson enjoying the VIP Pre-game reception - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


The VIP Pre-game reception buffet - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


When you walked in the Wallace gym, you could feel the energy of the music and the superb commentating from Reec of Hot 107.9.


"Pops" Maurice and Son/MC & Host of 107.9." Reec "- Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


The music was sounding so good you saw some of the retired players popping their fingers while trying to make their lay-ups in the warm up routine.  In the crowd, I saw the young people bouncing their heads compared to the older generations just trying to pop a finger.


NBA Hall of Famer 2015/Coach/Player Dikembe Mutombo greeting and thanking the young fans - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Mikayla Reckord and mother Alicia Henderson-Reckord enjoying this great family event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Gabi Mercer and her "Big Guy" Father, LaVon Mercer having fun at this family event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


It was fun looking at Coach Ellis, his Assistant Coach LaVon Mercer and Coach Mutumbo and his Assistant Coach Reggie Johnson trying to get their strategy together before their teams hit the court.   


LaVon Mercer, Dale Ellis, Mike Reckord - LaVon praying that the Chief Operation Officer Mike don't let Dale in the game and play - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Assistant Coach Reggie Johnson coaching from the side while Coach Mutombo coaches from the court - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Mike Phillips, Saxophonist; Mike Reckord, Chief Operation Officer of NBRPA-Atlanta Chapter, and NBA Retired Players: Kevin Willis, LaVon Mercer, Dale Ellis, Jim Washington - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


LaVon Mercer, Rickie Clement, Dale Ellis and Daffney Ellis pep talk before the game - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Before the tip off, you have to give respect to your country and the flag with the National Anthem. With a unique twist to the Anthem, it was played by saxophonist great, Mike Phillips from New York who held notes so long the crowd was really astounded and appreciative. He was assisted by “Harry the Hawk”, the mascot for the Atlanta Hawks, the 2015 Southeast Division Champions who were honored by Mayor Kasim Reed and the city three days prior to this game.



Jazz Legend Mike Phillips and Atlanta Hawks "Harry" delivering the National Anthem - Courtesy of Alicia Henderson-Reckord


The guys enjoying this Saturday afternoon event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


The start of the game took place and everyone was amazed to see Coach Mutumbo turn back into a 7’2” basketball player and do the tip off.


The Referees waiting in line to pickup their eyeglasses - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


He played most of the game, which increased excitement for the sport fans. He made shots, blocked shots and threw “elbows” with former Atlanta Hawks teammate Kevin Willis, which brought a lot of laughs. And you know we were treated to seeing him pointing his finger saying, “NO NO NO Not In My House”.


Dikembe Mutombo's "No No No" Crew - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Coach Ellis admits this was his highlight moment watching Mutumbo play even though he was trying to run plays to stop this coach/player.  


Dikembe Mutombo checking to see if these are his orthopedics shoes - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Coach Dale Ellis and Assistant Coach LaVon Mercer discussing their next play with their team - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


The teams consisted of players from the various leagues, which showed they will always have the game of basketball instilled in them, no matter how old they get. They were still able to dribble through their legs, do "no look" passes and even dunk the balls bringing the crowd to their feet.


"Let The Game Begin" - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth

The Most Value Player (MVP) was awarded to Cameron Wilson who is a player from the Lovette High School basketball team. He was so honored and humbled to be able to play against these former, WNBA, NBA and other league players.


The Lovett High Schooler Cameron Wilson (MVP) playing with the big league - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Cameron Wilson, the first MVP of Celeberity Game 2015 presented by Chapter President Dale Ellis and NBA Hall of Fame Inductee Dikembe Mutombo - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


One other player who stood out was DeAndre Bray known as “Lil The Misquitoe” of the “Ball-Up League who performed like he was a Globetrotter.  His style of play has landed him a role in the new “Ball-Up” reality show that I can’t wait to watch this Fall.


The Electri-flying "Lil The Misquito" of the Ball-Up League posing with Assistant Coach Dale Ellis Jr who abandoned his father by leaving his coaching position to go play elsewhere - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Everyone was really enjoying the MC Host Reec, the players and coach tactics, the halftime entertainment, the food, the sport table, the autographs from the players and just having fun for the entire family and friends.


Ms Toni, Michelle Keeling, Harold Keeling, Pat Oalden, Bishop Reggie Copeland, Renee Sudderth, Debra Bazemore and Lem Howard looking up to God thanking him for this beautiful and successful event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth



The game finally ended with Coach Mutumbo beating Ellis’ team 84 -81.


All the excitement and fun, no one wanted to go home - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Now President/Coach Ellis knows if he wanted his team to win he would have needed to dress and play like his competition Coach/Player Mutumbo. Another reason why Mutumbo and his assistant coach Reggie Johnson won because they are twins born on June 25 but different years.  Therefore, they wanted an early birthday present by winning.


Coach Mutombo's team waiting for their trophy- Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Everyone is a Winner - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Sylvia Weddington, Executive Manager of NBRPA-Atlanta Chapter and Realtor/Interior Designer with sons Langston and Lawson Weddington posing with one of the greatest NBA Legends Dikembe Mutombo - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


WBNA Rita WIlliams and Ms Toni - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Stay tune for the 2nd Annual Charity Basketball Game sponsored by the NBRPA and Breakthrough Atlanta next year and make sure we see you there. Big thanks goes to Monica Rodgers, Atlanta Executive Director of Breakthrough Atlanta; Dale Ellis, President of NBRPA – Atlanta Chapter’s and Mike Reckord, the Chief of Operations of NBRPA – Atlanta Chapter and the Founder and President of King of Hoops which is a Summer Pro Am Tournament that has taken place in Atlanta for the last 14 years.  Until then, watch for upcoming events these organizations will be hosting and is known for “impacting communities and the youth”.



Ms Toni, Dikembe Mutombo, Pat Oalden enjoying the "after the game" moment - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Marsha Sudderth from Knoxville, Tennessee who grew up cheering for Dale Ellis during his great TN Volunteer years - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Dale Ellis, NBA Legend/President of NBRPA - Atlanta Chapter; Renee Sudderth, Splash Magazine Photojournalist; Reggie Johnson, NBA Champion/Philidelphia and CEO of RJohnson Community Services - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth



A very happy and satisfied crowd after this great event - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


DALE ELLIS, President of the Atlanta Chapter's National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) very please of the success and fun this charity game brought to the communities and the youth - Courtesy of Renee Sudderth


Copyright © 2015.June This story written and photos by Renee Sudderth for Splash Magazines. It is not to be sold or reproduce without written permission of Renee Sudderth


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