OAK BROOK, Ill.-(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–March 26, 2003–On March 26 the McDonald’s All American Game will premier the top basketball talent in the nation — and provide fans a glimpse of NCAA, NBA and WNBA superstars of tomorrow. The top 48 high school boys and girls will continue this storied history of success as they tip off the 26th annual Boys Game and the second annual Girls Game at the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Dominican player Charlie Villanueva, who will attend the University of Illinois, will represent New Jersey’s Blair Academy.
The Girls Game tips off at 4:30 p.m. (EST) and will be broadcast on ESPN on April 1 at 3 p.m. The Boys Game begins at 7 p.m. (EST) and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
“The local McDonald’s owners of Cleveland and the greater-Ohio area are looking forward to hosting the McDonald’s All American Basketball Game and showcasing the best high school talent in the country,” said John Powers, McDonald’s restaurant owner and chairman of the 2003 All American Game. “This time-honored tradition not only will entertain fans, but more importantly, it also will benefit children and families in need by raising money for Ronald McDonald House Charities.”
Nearly 650 players have competed in the McDonald’s All American Game, forming an elite list, which reads like a Who’s Who in basketball history. McDonald’s All Americans include basketball greats Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant, as well as NCAA stars Chris Thomas (Notre Dame), Chris Duhon (Duke), Nick Collison (Kansas), Shanna Zolman (Tennessee), Ann Strother (UConn), and Courtney LaVere (Notre Dame).
“My experience as a McDonald’s All American is one I’ll never forget,” said Kobe Bryant, current Los Angeles Lakers star and 1996 McDonald’s All American. “Not only was I able to compete in my first nationally-televised game against some of the best talent in the country, but more importantly, I was able to give back to others through my visit to the Ronald McDonald House.”
Since the first McDonald’s All American Boys Game was played in Philadelphia in 1978, the Game has provided one of the only true national showcases for the best young male players in the land to exhibit their talent. With the addition of the Girls Game in 2002, the same is now true for female athletes.
“McDonald’s will continue to pave the way for female athletes this year as they host the second annual McDonald’s All American Girls Game in Cleveland”, said Helen Darling, WNBA Cleveland Rockers guard. “The McDonald’s All American Game provides a tremendous opportunity for team members to obtain national exposure — and the chance to meet fellow players with goals and dreams similar to their own.”
The final 48 players (24 boys, 24 girls) were selected from a pool of more than 2,500 top high school boy and girl basketball players from across the country and nominated to the McDonald’s All American Teams in February 2003. Morgan Wootten, the winningest coach in high school basketball history, serves as chairman of the selection committee and legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, who has been involved in the McDonald’s All American Game since its inception, serves as overall chairman of the Game and as an advisor to the selection committee.
“For these young athletes, it is quite an honor to be nominated, let alone selected to the McDonald’s All American team,” said Wooden. “McDonald’s All Americans are role models and leaders to their peers, not only in basketball, but also in the game of life.”
Net proceeds from the 2003 McDonald’s All American Games will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio (Cleveland and Akron) and Youngstown. Previous beneficiaries of McDonald’s All American Games include Sickle Cell Anemia Research, the United Negro College Fund and many other local children’s charities. More than $3 million has been raised since the Game was first played in 1978.
In addition to the Games, McDonald’s All Americans participate in the POWERade Jam Fest (a slam dunk, team ball and 3-point competition). The segment will air on Friday, April 4 at 7 p.m. (EST) on ESPN.
National sponsors for the 2003 game include: Coca-Cola; POWERade; Reebok; 989 Sports; Nestle Crunch and the U.S. Postal Service. For more information on the McDonald’s All American Game, please visit http://www.mcdonaldsallamerican.com or http://www.mcdonalds.com.
Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501(c)(3), creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children worldwide.
Its goal is to make an immediate, positive impact on as many children as possible through its global network of 178 local Chapters in 46 countries.
McDonald’s is the world’s leading foodservice retailer, with more than 30,000 restaurants serving over 46 million people each day in 121 countries. Approximately 80 percent of McDonald’s U.S. restaurants are owned and operated by independent local businessmen and women.
© 2003 McDonald’s Corporation
Mirna Aceituno, 630/623-6432