Among a series of slam dunks, orchestrated to music, pants were pulled down, revealing fancy underwear, a couple of times.
Near the conclusion, a charity basketball show turned into a football game that transformed into a dance-off.
The Harlem Ambassadors traveling basketball troupe brought a load of basketball fun Sunday night at Grove Gymnasium.
They defeated the Toad Suck Lions, a team made up of former Conway high school and college standouts, 86-82.
In the spirit of transparency, the basketball game with extremely modified rules, was not as close as the scoreboard indicated. The Lions, trailing by 42-21, were given 30 bonus points to begin the second half due to crowd applause.
None of that mattered.
What mattered was one side of Hendrix’s gym was close to full and the crowd overflowed to the opposite side.
What mattered was a group of youngsters, gyrating, laughing along with their parents and friends, at all kinds of fast-moving comedy antics,
What mattered was former Conway and Hendrix star Lawson Pilgrim flew in from Dallas on Sunday afternoon, then caught an early return flight Monday morning — just to play for the Lions, coached by his mentor (Cliff Garrison), along with Marvin Delph and Don Dyer.
What really mattered is major funds were raised for efforts by the Conway Noon Lions club to raise money to help in its efforts to provide glasses and exams for the visually impaired in Faulkner County.
Earlier in the day, the Conway Athletic Awards Commission gave the Lions Club a check for $250 as its annual charitable donation, partly originating from not having dessert, at its Elijah Pitts-Marvin Delph Awards luncheon. The story was told at the luncheon that one of the local junior high recipients of a Marvin Delph Student-Athlete Award was transformed from a C student to an A student when she received an eye exam and glasses as the result of the Lions’ pet project.
The Ambassadors, three males and two females, have traveled to 23 countries and islands in the South Pacific, with their brand of entertainment raising money for charity groups.
The opposing team is introduced to the “Mission Impossible” theme.
Regular basketball rules were loosely enforced.
Right off the bat, they made former Conway and Hendrix star do five pushups as punishment because “as a professional organization, we don’t support air balls.”
One of the Lions, new Hendrix offensive coordinator Jordan Neal (who showed some basketball skill) had his basketball shorts pulled down, revealing yellow patterned ones, as he was shown by the Ambassadors the proper way and dress by which to short free throws. After his uniformed was adjusted to reveal healthy but legal amount of leg, Neal gyrated, bent back and hit his free throws.
The “Little Dribblers” from Woodrow Cummins Elementary proivided a halftime show of dribbling and ballhandling beyond their years.
At one point, oungsters throughout the arena created impromptu dance routines as “Who Let the Dogs Out” and “Gangham Style.”
Lots of dancing and having fun — with as much rhythm in the stands as one the court.
At one point, the Ambassadors pulled out a small football, spunned it like a top for several seconds, then lined up and ran a pass play.
One hilarious highlight occurred when players from both teams joined in a rousing dance-off. Then, the Lions coaches and the referees got some “dance instruction,” with mixed results from the Ambassadors.
Toward the end of the exhibition, there was an exhibition. The Toad Suck Lion mascot (part-Lion, part-Toad) snuck up and pulled down the shorts of an Ambassador player to reveal Superman undies.
The player complained to the referee that there was foul. “Who did it,” asked the ref.
He pointed to mascot, “Whatever that is pulled me shorts down.”
Spectators left with smiles.
Youngsters flocked onto Garrison Court afterwards and shot baskets for several minutes.
Lions Club members efficiently and effectively, with sweepers and trash baskets, clearned the gymnasium.
And the volunteer celebrity team left happy.
“The word is injury free,” said Pilgrim with his usual smile.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-1235)