Sunday was all about the Hoops Aid. Did you think I had Sundays off? Well so did I before I spoke to Head of The Nottingham Institute, Dominic Corder: “Every day is an opportunity Toby, why would you ever waste one?” So Dominic, Trevor Coker (Technology), Sam Bowery (Branding) and myself set off to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London where the event was being held in The Copper Box.
Hoops Aid came about when Ellis Haggith, a promising young basketball player whose career was cut short when diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, decided to use his situation as motivation to achieve more. His father, Lance Haggith, founded Hoops Aid as a result. Hoops Aid is a highly entertaining and greatly interactive fundraising event featuring basketball as the key sport.
Hoops Aid will take place every 2 years, on the alternate year to Soccer Aid and Sport Relief. Hoops Aid differs to Soccer Aid in that it features disability sport by means of an exhibition wheelchair game involving Battle Back soldiers, truly inspirational people, facing the Hoops Aid challenge.
The event will see celebrities; sporting personalities and professional basketball players past and present from Team GB, the GB Paralympics team, Battle Back soldiers, BBL and the NBA coming together to play basketball to raise money for the charity Sports Traider.
The first thing we saw when we finally arrived (no thanks to Dom’s driving) was the Battle Back soldiers playing a really fast and competitive game of basketball – this was no exhibition match!
There was some great music at the event provided by Sam ‘Switch’ Jenkins, Brooklyn rapper D-Jukes with singer/songwriter Sophia May, London rap artist and all-round wordsmith EcKSell, hot new girl band Alfee and Manchester’s freshest new sound – Kassoma.
Meeting Lance and Ellis was inspirational on a personal level and I understood why so many stars had come out to support them. The mix of celebs and real basketball players was interesting although you were never in any doubt as to which was which! The basketball was fun and frantic. Shane Lynch from Boyzone caught the eye as one of the celebs who was really trying. Actor Jody Latham from Shameless also caught the eye – his big grin could be seen from the other side of the arena. I honestly don’t think that anybody else enjoyed themselves quite as much as Jody did. His laughter was infectious. John Regis MBE showed why he was such a decorated athlete and that he has lost none of his competitive spirit. There was quite a battle between him and Martin ‘Chariots’ Offiah (also an MBE) at one stage but it was all in good humour. Still, it’s a lesson to the youngsters out there – if you want to be great, you must commit 100%.
Other big names to support the event included Ipswich Town’s straight-talking manager Mick McCarthy, singer Dane Bowers, Hollywood Actor Tamer Hassan, a plethora of Big Brother contestants and many more besides.
The emerging talent on show with the likes of EcKSell, Kassoma, The Hardy Bucks (who had their first feature film release this year with Universal Studios) and some of the younger athletes was exciting too.
The Nottingham Institute got to present a few of our services to al of the acts there on the day and some of the other big names present, including former WBA Heavyweight Champion, David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye.