NEW YORK, May 29 Spokespersons for the charities picked asbeneficiaries for the Pro Sports Team Challenge celebrity golf tournament wereelated when legendary all-stars from baseball, hockey, basketball, andfootball chose to represent their organizations in competing for a total purseof more than $250,000.
"We are proud and thrilled to be chosen by NBA legend and USOentertainment tour veteran Charles Barkley as a beneficiary of Pro Sports TeamChallenge," said Tiane Harrison, media director for the USO. "As a nonprofitorganization, we rely on the generosity of the American public to continue ourwork. Money received from the Challenge will help us continue to providemorale-boosting programs and services to service members and their familiesworldwide."
USO, which has sent the stars of screen, stage, radio, and concerts toentertain United States servicemen and women around the globe for sevendecades, was chosen by NBA superstar and Team Basketball captain CharlesBarkley. Barkley, who also serves as Commissioner for the tournament, andTeam Challenge founder and managing director Tom Belton organized the event,which will be contested June 7th and 8th at Eagle Falls Golf Club at FantasySprings Resort Casino in Palm Springs, California. An exciting Pro-Am eventwill also take place on June 6, 2008 as part of the tournament. The ProSports Team Challenge will also be broadcast nationwide on Fox Sports Net June28th and 29th.
"Being chosen by NBA legend and USO entertainment tour veteran CharlesBarkley demonstrates the impact our troops had on him," continued Harrison."Through the generosity of athletes like Charles and his Team Basketballplayers and the Pro Sports Team Challenge event, we have the vital opportunityfor the USO message to reach a broad audience. It is now more important thanever that our men and women in uniform and their families know that Americasupports them. And that's what the USO does everyday around the world."
Team Hockey has found an equally altruistic partner in the Pro Sports TeamChallenge: NHL superstar, two-time Stanley Cup winner, and Team Hockeycaptain Mario Lemieux selected Hockey Fights Cancer as his team's beneficiary.
"Hockey Fights Cancer is honored to be chosen as the beneficiary ofCaptain Mario Lemieux's team at the 2008 Pro Sports Team Challenge," saidBernadette Mansur, Executive Director of the NHL Foundation. "Mario continuesto be a leader on and off the ice and the NHL is proud to have him lead in ourfight against cancer."
"As you know, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease," explained Lemieuxin a media conference call, "so this is an issue near and dear to my heart,and I'm only too happy to help others in the same fight."
"Mario has been a strong supporter of Hockey Fights Cancer and a crusaderin hockey's most important fight," echoed Devin Smith, NHLPA Director ofCommunity Relations. "He is a true ambassador of the game of hockey andexemplifies the commitment all our players and alumni have in giving to thecommunity."
While all the players admit that Lemieux's Team Hockey has the bestgolfers on paper, the Strat.e.golf(TM) Internet platform, where fans can logon and vote not only for their favorite team, but for which player's matchcounts for double the points, creates an unpredictable "x factor" as one matchcan turn the tide of the entire competition. "I don't know how the fan votewill turn out, but I know it will make things interesting," said Team Baseballcaptain Ozzie Smith.
The Strat.e.golf(TM) Internet platform also provides another opportunityto put the four charities close to the minds of the fans. "This is not only atremendous TV idea, but could be a significant driver online for building asustained community of fans and donors," explained Rick Larsen, the presidentof Operation Kids, a charity helping children and families displaced or harme