Chris Paul & Chris Barnes
WINSTON-SALEM, NC — Professional basketball players, led by NBA All-Star and avid bowler Chris Paul, will compete on another form of hardwood this fall as they match up with professional bowlers on the lanes in a special made-for-TV fundraising event. The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) and Paul’s CP3 Foundation announced today the creation of the inaugural Chris Paul PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by the brands of Ebonite International which will be televised on ESPN.
The Invitational will take place at the AMF Major League Lanes in Winston-Salem, NC, on Sept. 20 taped for broadcast on ESPN, airing on Oct. 19 to kick off the 2008-09 50th Anniversary Denny’s PBA Tour season. The Invitational also marks the first time professional athletes from other sports will partner with professional bowlers for a bowling event with a dedicated telecast.
The event will be held in conjunction with the third annual Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend, the signature fundraising event of the CP3 Foundation. All of the proceeds from the Invitational and the weekend-long charity event will benefit Paul’s foundation which supports a variety of charities and programs in Winston-Salem and New Orleans. Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend is managed and organized under the direction of Octagon, Paul’s management firm.
“I am thrilled to have a PBA event be a major part of my charity weekend and bring some of the best bowlers in the world to Winston-Salem,” said Paul. “I always tell people that I am a bowler first and a basketball player second, so I know this event will be an ultimate test of my bowling skills. There will certainly be a lot of bragging rights at stake among the NBA players who attend.”
Paul, the New Orleans Hornets point guard who was runner-up for NBA MVP last season and a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, will head up a field of five NBA stars who will team up with five PBA bowling stars to form five doubles teams consisting of one NBA celebrity and one pro bowler.
“We are really excited that the PBA is coming to Winston-Salem as a part of Chris Paul’s annual charity event,” said Allen Joines, Mayor of Winston-Salem. “The addition of this professional bowling event that will feature some of the top names in the sport paired with other elite NBA players will be a great experience for the people of Winston-Salem to enjoy.”
The NBA players are yet to be announced, but previous participants in Paul’s charity weekend bowling event have included fellow All-Stars and Team USA members LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
Three former PBA Player of the Year winners, including current POY Chris Barnes, will compete under the four brands of Ebonite International. Barnes (Columbia 300), Tommy Jones (Ebonite), Jason Couch (Ebonite), Doug Kent (Hammer), and Mitch Beasley (Track), make up the PBA field. Barnes, Jones, Couch and Kent are also among the 50 Greatest Players in PBA history as announced this year in celebration of the PBA’s 50th Anniversary season.
“Ebonite International and our consumer brands are proud to be a part of this event,” said Bob Reid, Ebonite International vice president of marketing. “Bowling is a great sport and the involvement of ambassadors like Chris Paul and his fellow NBA stars will help elevate and promote bowling to a wide audience.”
The teams will be given predetermined pairings and will be placed in a “stepladder” format based on performance in the day’s pro-am, i.e. No. 5 seed vs. No. 4 seed in the first one-game match, winner advances on to face the No. 3 seed and so on, until the final match. The games will be played “Baker-style” with the celebrity on a team bowling the odd numbered frames and the pro bowler bowling the even numbered frames.
“The PBA is proud to partner with Chris Paul and Ebonite International for this exciting event to kick off the coverage of our 50th Anniversary season,” said PBA Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Clark. “Besides being a spectacular superstar on the basketball court, CP’s love of bowling and the sincere efforts of his great Foundation make this event a perfect fit. Now, let’s see if he really is the best bowling basketball player in the league.”
The event is also sponsored by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC), of which Paul has served as a spokesman since 2007. Paul through the USBC has helped to broaden the visibility and participation of bowling through national advertising and promotional campaigns including instructional bowling videos he has made with professional bowlers such as Barnes.
About Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend and the CP3 Foundation
Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend, hosted by the Twin City Quarter, is the signature fundraising event of the CP3 Foundation. Established in 2006, the CP3 Foundation is the focal point of Paul’s philanthropic initiatives. In addition to the celebrity bowling tournament, the other events of the weekend will include a R&B concert hosted by Paul (9/18), Youth Day of Service (9/19), Banker’s Ball (9/19), Issuer Direct Youth Basketball Clinic (9/20) and a Community Church Service and Social sponsored by Mountain Fried Chicken (9/21). The money generated from the inaugural Chris Paul’s Winston-Salem Weekend was earmarked for the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund which awarded one local Forsyth County student with a scholarship to Wake Forest University in honor of Paul’s late grandfather and other local charities. In the second year of the event, The CP3 Foundation sponsored a house for Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County and hosted a comedy show at Winston-Salem State University in conjunction with student services. Paul started giving back to his hometown shortly after being drafted by the Hornets when he refurbished the basketball courts at the Rupert Bell Recreation Center. For more information, please visit www.chrispaul3.com.
About Ebonite International
Based in Hopkinsville, Kent., Ebonite International is a privately-owned company that currently services bowling centers, distributors and retail outlets both domestically and internationally. The company's consumer product brands include Ebonite, Hammer, Robby's, Columbia 300, Track and Powerhouse™. Its commercial product brands are Ebonite VanTech Capital Equipment, Vantage Genuine Parts and Ebonite Bowling Center Direct.
About the PBA
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) features the best bowlers in the world competing in National, Regional and Senior Tour events. The organization has more than 4,000 members spanning 13 countries, and nearly one million viewers tune-in to watch the Denny’s PBA Tour every Sunday on ESPN throughout the season. PBA sponsors include Aaron Rents, Bayer, Brunswick, CLR, ConstructionJobs.com, Denny's, Etonic, Flomax, GEICO, Go RVing, H&R Block, Lumber Liquidators, Motel 6, Pepsi-Cola and the USBC, among others. For more information on the PBA, log on to www.pba.com.