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By: Tom Cavanagh,  Maureen Cavanagh

Cavanaghs Recap the Classic

June 16, 2017
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Hey, do you like to do kind acts for complete strangers? No? Then read no further!

To those of you still reading, I have an act of kindness to share with you! It occurred at NYC’s legendary Holcombe Rucker Park, the world mecca of playground basketball, and it was perpetrated by a particularly shiny group of youngish men and women. In fact, the folks behind this act of kindness were so darn kind, we should capitalize this act–thus, an Act Of Kindness!  In fact, maybe quotations are also called for: “Act Of Kindness”!

No. That’s pushing it. Capitalized Act is all that’s really called for. You’re right, let’s not overreact.

What about italics?  OK, jeez, I’m just asking. We’ll stick with Act Of Kindness.

And just what was said act, you ask?

We are talking of course, about the first inaugural NOTHING BUT NETS CAVANAGH CLASSIC Charity Hoops game involving local legendary streetball players, celebrities of Film, TV and stage, the youngsters from the local New Heights organization and a guy dressed as a giant mosquito.  (Winner of most dedicated intern EVER; our friend Axel!)  Despite the heat, (baller and “Rescue Me” star Steven Pasquale had an unofficial estimate of 217 degrees Fahrenheit – or was that Kelvin?) we had a terrific turnout of fans from all over New York. And actor/comedian/author/scrabble expert Michael Ian Black drove down from Connecticut, having falsely been promised an espresso machine. Another pair ‘o nutmeggers, Maureen’s parents, couldn’t quite make it, their car having broken down on the Cross Bronx.  Something to do with the alternator, I understand. Pasquale claims it was the 412 degrees Fahrenheit, or was that gigawatts. “It’s hot,” added defensive specialist Carlos Hawkins, “but it’s a hot heat”. To which actor and Ralph Lauren model Chris Collins responded, “Whatever.”  As soon as Chris spoke, 10 women fainted – and it definitely wasn’t the heat.

The day started out with a very soulful version of the National Anthem sung by recording artist Shaliek Rivers.  His smooth vocals set the stage for a heartfelt and informative speech by Elizabeth Gore from Nothing But Netsand then a quick but witty welcome by Tom Cavanagh.  Actually, baller and TV personality Gary Apple was overheard stating “That was the least witty welcome I’ve ever heard, and I work with sports reporters,” to which baller and actor Jimmy Burke added “Don’t forget long and boring,”  prompting baller Gene Hackett to respond “At least he didn’t curse.”

Then it was onto the first-rate stylings of Andre “Dre” Britton, who shone all day long as the official MC, bestowing sometimes flattering, sometimes less-so nicknames on the hoopsters, (we’re still uncertain whether Slovenia’s own Niko Klansek chafes or rejoices over the “Dirk” handle) and chronicling the day’s events with hilarious play-by-play . Timing award goes to hoops legend and Above The Rim founder Cape who shows up at the Rucker as he is being introduced, and without missing a beat runs right onto the court , high fives everyone, including the mosquito (” I didn’t get to where I am today by forgetting the disease-ridden little people,” Cape tells me).

Now what self-respecting fundraiser can make do without music and photo-ops.  We were so thankful to DJ B-Fats who kept the beats flowing during the entire day, prompting Michigan Wolverine Ron Garber to pop and lock and defend the key at the same time. “Dude wouldn’t have lasted one round on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ” opined that show’s alum and starting forward Cameron Mathison. To which the 6’9″ Garber replied “Is this a ‘tall’ thing?” 

Sports Illustrated photographer David Bergman recorded the day’s events for posterity, for which we are eternally grateful.  Having Bergman there was kinda like having Babe Ruth at a Little League game, but we’ll take it. And that’ll teach him to not underestimate me in poker–never draw to an inside straight, Bergie.  Keep playing loosey-goosey like that and you’ll be shooting my Cavanagh Classics ‘til the Los Angeles Clippers go for a three-peat.  David and his loyal assistant Ben shot some pretty stellar images from the game by putting up several remotes and shooting everything from the team photo to the monster dunks by Gordon James and Ryan “Special Effects” Williams.  David writes about the day in his blog here.

We were honored to have such impressive talent out there on the court, sweating into the blue and white reversables. “Seriously, it’s like 10 billion degrees Celsius out here,” giggled Pasquale, “or is that Centigrade.”. Heat-resistant actor Rory Wheeler showed his afterburner speed and quick hands, competing for highlight reel space with old friend Zach Ward, and renaissance man DeeMo walked off as the game’s unofficial high scorer. Both benches were also in secure hands, Blue being guided by Big Ten strategist Maureen Holohan, while the victorious White squad was firmly guided by Toronto Raptors coaching alum Mike McCollow.  In an attempt to appear more legitimate than we actually were, we made Rotoworld mastermind Steve Alexander the official scorekeeper.  He wrote about his day here

The halftime show was presented by The Harlem Magic Masters, run by the always personable Rudy Johnson.  They played a game against the New Heights youngsters that turned out to be the crowd pleaser of the day.  Through-the-legs passes, amazing defense and all-out hustle by the New Heights kids proved a tough match for the Magic Masters.  It was clear who the crowd was rooting for!  Visit the New Heights website to learn more about these amazing kids.

In fact, as all present threw their support behind our goal of combating the spread of malaria, the only down-note came from Michael Ian Black, who floated the idea of whether we should kill the mosquito mascot, as a way of symbolizing our desire to defeat the mosquito-borne disease, but he was quietly ushered out, with promises of a brand new espresso machine.

Maureen and I send our heartfelt thanks to all involved, and to all who continue to be involved.  To donate $10 to our team, check out our team page here.  Send a net, save a life!

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