By Steve Vivona
Former St. John's greats and current NBA All-Stars took to the
court at the Queens campus on Sept. 15 to donate their time for a
The players squared off at Alumni Hall in the annual New York
All Star Basketball Classic to benefit Wheelchair Charities Inc.
Founded by Hank Carter in 1972 after an injury paralyzed a good
friend, Wheelchair Charities has purchased countless wheelchairs
for those in need. The group also provides about $1 million in
annual financial support for patients at Coler-Goldwater Memorial
Hospital on Roosevelt Island, a 2,016-bed specialty hospital and
nursing facility for patients with varying medical conditions.
For the first game, two teams comprising corporate all-stars
readied the crowd for the main event, a match-up between former St.
John's head coach Lou Carnesecca, coaching the NY Red All-Stars,
and current Red Storm head coach Norm Roberts, coaching the NY Blue
In a rousing contest, former St. John's stars Mark Jackson and
Ron Artest battled fellow NBA stars Steve Francis, Darius Miles and
Sebastian Telfair. The Blues defeated the Reds in the final minutes
on the strength of two dramatic, three-point shots courtesy of
During an emotional halftime ceremony Sam Cassell, of the
Minnesota Timberwolves, said he was grateful for Mr. Carter's work.
He also shared his feelings about his visit to Coler-Goldwater
earlier in the day. "Compared to what I saw," he declared, "we
don't have any problems. Visit a hospital for just ten minutes and
you will understand what I am saying."
Following the game, players spent time talking with the many
children in attendance, signing autographs and giving their young
fans a night they'll never forget.