Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 1:33 p.m.
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The stars will be entertaining the stars during Michael Jordan’s four-day visit beginning Thursday. Grammy Award winner Ne-Yo returns home to Las Vegas with comedy king Cedric the Entertainer to provide music and laughter at Friday night’s gala, for the 11th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, at Aria in MGM’s CityCenter.
“I feel blessed to perform in the city where I grew up,” Ne-Yo said. “Performing in Las Vegas is always amazing, and being able to perform in celebration of Michael’s tournament, which benefits so many charities, is the best feeling. I understand the importance of giving back, which is something my mother taught me growing up, and I pay it forward through my own charity helping young people in foster care.”
This is now the second year that the NBA legend has brought his star-studded charity tournament to town and the prestigious, formerly private golf course Shadow Creek. Michael’s tournament, previously in the Bahamas, is expected to return here for a third time next year.
Star-studded is an understatement because the list of celebrities scheduled to attend is a who’s who of VIP black books. It includes superstar athletes from hockey, basketball, football and golf, plus showbiz personalities, with current NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, and Chris Chelios, who sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole last year and to celebrate did a cannonball jump right into the adjacent lake.
Here’s the list as of today: Marcus Allen, Brian Baumgartner, Jerome Bettis, Brandi Chastain, Chelios, Eddie Cibrian, Roger Clemens, Vince Coleman, Julius Erving, Angie Everhart, Joey Fatone, Marshall Faulk, Terry Francona, Wayne Gretzky, Janet Jones-Gretzky, Ken Griffey Jr., Penny Hardaway, Brett Hull, Toni Kukoc, Mario Lemieux, Sugar Ray Leonard, Greg Maddux, Win McMurry, Joe Morgan, Paul O’Neill, Maury Povich, Ahmad Rashad, Salli Richardson, LeAnn Rimes, Rodgers, Stuart Scott, Bruce Smith, Ozzie Smith, John Smoltz, Matt Stafford, Michael Strahan, Jason Taylor, Alan Thicke, Tico Torres, Brian Urlacher, Michael Wilbon, Winky Wright and Adrian Young.
Said Michael: “Last year’s debut event in Las Vegas was a fun-filled, exciting weekend for not only me, but also for our guests, partners and fans. Service was second to none and I, of course, can’t pass up playing golf at Shadow Creek. I’m looking forward to another successful invitational and am hopeful we raise even more money this time around.”
Thursday and Friday is the pairing of celebrities and amateurs in the first half of the tournament -- one celebrity with four amateurs. Then this weekend, it’s celebrities only on the greens with a two-person, 36-hole scramble format. The public is invited to Shadow Creek, consistently ranked in Golf Week magazine’s Top 10. Check out Senior Editor John Katsilometes’ story about how memorabilia and autograph collectors have to behave at Shadow Creek!
General admission starts at $30, and VIP passes are as much as $500, with all the money earmarked for the following charities: our beloved Opportunity Village, Make-a-Wish Foundation, UC San Diego Nevada Cancer Institute, Michael’s charity named after his father and the Charlotte Bobcats’ Cats Care. To date, Michael has raised more than $6 million with his golf event.
Aria President and COO Bill McBeath summed up: “We are incredibly proud to welcome the return of Michael and his tournament. We loved opening Shadow Creek to the public for the first time last year for this spectacular tournament. We are honored to be a part of an event that raises money for important charitable organizations.”
We’ll have coverage throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back as we go stargazing and golfing on the greens.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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