Final Hang The Net Celebrity Shootout draws big crowd

Final Hang The Net Celebrity Shootout draws big crowd
July 30
00:00 2015

In above photo: Art Blevins, right, introduces Phil Ford to the crowd at the final Hang The Net Celebrity Shootout. As a point guard at UNC-Chapel Hill, Ford earned First Team All-American Honors and was the 1978 National Player of The Year. (Photo by Tevin Stinson)

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

Children from all over the city filed into Hanes Hosiery Recreation center on Thursday, July 23 for the final Hang The Net Celebrity Shootout.

Since 1992, Art Blevins has brought local celebrities together for a day of basketball and fun.

During the event, children from across the city get the chance to meet local TV personalities and basketball stars from the area.

According to Blevins, this year’s event drew a crowd of over 500 children.

“We have a lot of summer camps from local YMCA’s and church’s bringing buses,” said Blevins. “The event is free, and we just want the kids to come out and have a good time and meet some celebrities.”

This year’s event featured a number of stars.

The college division of the competition featured a number of talented shooters who play or have played at the Division I-A level including; CJ Harris (Wake Forest), Clifford Crawford (NC State) and Antonio Robinson (ECU).

Most of the children were excited to see former Wake Forest and Dallas Maverick all-star Josh Howard.

Howard put on a show during the celebrity shootout hanging the net multiple times in route to winning the competition.

During the event, Howard could be seen taking pictures and signing autographs.

He said he comes to the event every year because he enjoys giving back to the community that helped raise him.

“I remember attending the Hang The Net Shootout when I was a kid myself,” Howard said. “I know the community will hate to see the event go, but I’m sure it will always be remembered throughout the city.”

Howard also spoke highly of Blevins, who has been working in the community since he was 19 years old.

“Coach Art was a big part of my development on and off the court,” said Howard. “For years he has looked out for the youth in this community. He really does a great job.”

University of North Carolina basketball great Phil Ford also attended the final celebrity shootout and said he was honored to receive a Living Legend award for his community work around the state.

“It is a real honor to receive such a great award from a great community organization like this one.” Ford said.

Every year during the event, Blevins gives out a Living Legend award to those who have made a major impact in the community.

Much to his surprise, this year Blevins received a Living Legend award of his own.

“I was not expecting this at all,” said Blevins. “Everything I do is for this community, I never wanted or needed any recognition for the things I do I just want to keep this youth of the community out of trouble.”

Although this was the last Hang The Net Shootout, Blevins said he will continue to work with the youth in the community.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of this,” Blevins said. “I know I’ll be lost next year, but it will give me time to focus on other things. I’m sure I’ll think of another event for the kids in the community in the next couple of years.”

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