Recent Olympic gold medalists and NBA stars Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade headlined pairings with stars of the PBA at AMF Winston-Salem Lanes in the inaugural Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by the brands of Ebonite International. The event will air on ESPN this Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. EDT.
The event was held in conjunction with the Third annual Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend, the signature fundraising event of the CP3 Foundation. Paul, who grew up in Winston-Salem and was an All-American at Wake Forest, is an All-Star guard on the New Orleans Hornets. All of the proceeds from the Invitational and the weekend-long charity event will support a variety of charities and programs in Winston-Salem and New Orleans.
The Invitational kicks off the 2008-09 50th anniversary PBA Tour season and marks the first time professional athletes from other sports partnered with professional bowlers for a bowling event with a dedicated telecast.
Pairings at the Invitational were Paul with 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year Chris Barnes; Miami Heat guard Wade with 2005-06 PBA Player of the Year Tommy Jones; Cleveland Cavaliers forward James with Jason Couch; Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay with 2006-07 PBA Player of the Year Doug Kent; and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant with Mitch Beasley.
“This gives me an opportunity to show a part of me and it also gives an opportunity for the world to see how big of a sport bowling is,” Paul said. “I think a lot of times people see bowling as just something fun that you can go do on Friday night, Saturday night or something like that. But bowling is a competitive sport and something that I'm very, very involved in, and I love it.”
The other NBA players and PBA bowlers shared Paul’s enthusiasm in being a part of the special charity event.
“Chris Paul is a great friend of mine and it’s always good to come out for a good cause and have fun,” James added.
“I was really pumped; it was great bowling with my partner (James),” Couch said. “I watched him play in high school and now in the NBA. I’m a huge NBA fan. It was an honor to be a part of this special event. It was huge for me to meet these guys, let alone bowl with them.”
Be sure to catch all of the action on ESPN this Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. EDT!