• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

Harlem Wizards to play fundraiser at WCHS

THE HARLEM WIZARDS will play an exhibition game Dec. 8 at WCHS against school and community leaders. (Photo courtesy of the Harlem Wizards)

Get ready Woodford County. A high-flying, slam-dunking, rim-rattling basketball show is coming to town.

The world-famous Harlem Wizards will perform at Woodford County High School Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. The Wizards will play an exhibition game against a team of Woodford County administrators, teachers, community leaders and community members. Proceeds will benefit the WCHS athletic department.

The night will feature a variety of fun interactive extras to complement the Wizards' dazzling demonstration of hoops artistry including a pregame "Wiz Kids" warm-up, contests, comedy, slam dunks, audience participation, merchandise giveaways, and more. The game will conclude with the Wizards' signature dance extravaganza. The Wizards were founded in 1962 by Howie Davis. Davis was a larger-than-life entrepreneur, promoter, and visionary whose passion for sports, entertainment and philanthropy culminated with his creation of the Harlem Wizards in 1962. The idea for the Wizards started in 1959, when legendary basketball showman Goose Tatum approached Howie to organize a tour for Goose's Harlem Stars. The Stars had a short but successful run that opened Howie's eyes to the enormous potential of "show" basketball. Three years later, Howie launched the Wizards, according to owner Todd Davis. Since Howie Davis founded the Wizards 56 years ago, the team has undergone tremendous change. Howie's son Todd and grandson Rick now run the operation, fundraising revenue has grown exponentially, and the team has expanded into new geographic markets according to www.harlemwizards.com “Through all the changes, the team's commitment to the team's original mission has remained constant: to deliver world-class family-friendly entertainment while raising money for great causes,” said Davis. The Wizards have played over 15,000 games throughout the U.S. The games have raised over $25 million for schools and charitable causes. The Wizards have also played in over 25 foreign countries on five continents according to Davis. Some notable Wizards alumni are NBA Hall of Famers Connie Hawkins, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Elvin Hayes, Nancy Lieberman and three time NBA Champion Mario Elie. NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and Harlem Globetrotter superstar Marques Haynes also played for the Wizards. The current Wizards' lineup features a handful of former Harlem Globetrotters including Eric "Broadway" Jones and Dwayne "Swoop" Simpson. "King Arthur" Lewis was an Academic All-American at Bowie State University. Arnold "A-Train" Bernard, a highly acclaimed trickster and 7-year Globetrotter veteran who was featured in a Nike commercial a few years ago. Devon "Livewire" Curry, FIBA'S former No.1 ranked USA 3-on-3 player and Jordan “Ice” Southerland, finished 2nd on TNT Dunk King-One of top dunkers in the world. Advanced ticket prices are $10 or $12 at the door. To purchase tickets, and for more information, visit www.harlemwizards.com.

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