Some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment packed the side lines of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday to support the foundations of two of New York’s most recognizable athletes. Current New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and former Yankees all-star Robinson Cano (now a member of the Seattle Mariners) went head to head in the Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game, which allowed music industry headliners to intersect with athletic superstars while featuring a New York flavor – a recipe only Roc Nation Sports founder Shawn “Jay Z” Carter could have imagined. Both Cano and Sabathia have signed to the recently formed management company in the past year.
The contest, which benefitted Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation and Cano’s RC22 Foundation, reportedly raised more than $1 million for the two organizations. Although it was Team Cano that took the narrow victory, both players were able to assist their foundations on a grand scale.
“[Cano and I] played together for a long time obviously, and just wanted to do something with the two of our foundations combined,” said Sabathia of the partnership. “We thought that this would be a good way to do it and it turned out great.”
While Sabathia and Cano were relegated to coaching duty, big names on each team featured Terrell Owens, Chris Brown, Fabolous, DJ Khaled, and more. Looming equally large were WNBA star Skylar Diggins, who helped to judge the game’s halftime dunk contest, pop sensation Rihanna, and Yankees captain Derek Jeter. NBA megastars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony also served as honorary coaches, roaming the court in street clothes throughout the evening, while members of the men’s USA Basketball team such as James Harden and Kyrie Irving also sat nearby.
The big names resulted in a big turnout, as an unusually large amount of fans packed the arena for the exhibition match. Both Sabathia and Cano’s foundations seek to benefit and enrich the lives of inner city youth. From their hometowns in California and the Dominican Republic, respectively, to the cities in which they currently play their home games, the two men have gained a reputation for being ambassadors for Major League Baseball.