- Torehan Sharman/Daily
BY MARK BURNS
Daily Sports Editor
Published June 19, 2010
In mid-May, former Michigan football players Brian Griese, Charles Woodson and Steven Hutchinson united to sponsor the fourth annual Champions for Children’s Hearts, a fundraiser for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Current New York Jets wide receiver and former Wolverine football standout Braylon Edwards contributed to that event as a lone participant.
But on Saturday night, Edwards stood at the center of attention as he hosted a charity basketball game at Crisler Arena to raise money for inner-city education in Cleveland.
Before tip-off, Edwards said that he had always wanted to use basketball as a charity event, and he continued by stating how he felt many people would watch such a game, if there were “interesting” and “fun” people partaking in a worthwhile cause.
The Detroit native had just that as all the participants sported No. 17 jerseys in support of Edwards’ foundation.
“Michigan has been great and shown me nothing but love since I’ve graduated and I’m really appreciative to be a part of the Michigan tradition,” Edwards said.
Former Michigan football player Adrian Arrington, who participated in the event, added, “Braylon’s a guy I kind of looked up to when I got here (in 2004) … I just try to come back for all these types of events … and just show my support whenever I can.”
Proceeds from the event will also be set aside for a women’s basketball scholarship and a $100,000 endowment for Michigan athletics.
Edwards, who won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2004, wasn’t the only former Michigan football player to contribute his time and effort.
Both Arrington and Mike Hart, as well as ex-Wolverine basketball player Brent Petway, formed part of Team Michigan as it squared off against Team Ballers, a roster filled with current and former professional athletes, like Jason Richardson of the Phoenix Suns, along with radio and television personalities.
Hart, who sidelined the Michigan bench as coach, led his team to a slim 87-86 victory over Team Ballers.
“I’m old, I’m old, man,” Hart said of not actually playing in the game. “My body’s beat up. I’m not a big basketball player, just looking to coach and help the team out.”
And with the lower section of the arena mostly filled and other Michigan personnel on hand such as former Athletic Director Bill Martin and basketball coach John Beilein, Edwards and his slew of supporters put on a show for Michigan fans.
In spite of all the NCAA allegations and the current state of the football program, it was all smiles on a summer night in Ann Arbor.
“I’m very happy everyone came out,” Edwards said. “You have some selfless guys (out here playing) — Jason Richardson, who just finished playing in the Western Conference Finals. He didn’t have to be out here, but he’s here. That just shows you the respect they have for me, and I really appreciate that.”