What if you were in a wheelchair?
Celebrities, athletes and a wheelchair basketball team gave a demonstration at Oakland Universtiy on Thursday.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh hosted of the 10th Annual Celebrity Wheelchair Basketball Game to benefit the DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan.
Suh also helped coach the Detroit Jam, one of two teams of celebrities and former athletes who played alongside members of the Detroit Diehards, a wheelchair basketball team.
All of the proceeds from the event benefit the Detroit Medical Center Institute’s SportsAbility program, which allows wheelchair athletes to participate in everything from basketball to waterskiing.
The Jam’s celebrity roster included to Jimmy King (University of Michigan Fab Five basketball player), Paigion (Hot 102.7), Fantasee Blu (105.9 Kiss-FM), and Dr. Darrius and Bushman (WJLB).
The Detroit Jam lost by two points, but they had fun running plays under Suh’s leadership.
The competing team, the Motor City Rollers, was coached by former Detroit Piston John Long, and had a celebrity lineup including Deena Centofanti (Fox 2), Sharina Jones (Ms. Wheelchair Michigan), Terry Foster (97.1 The Ticket and The Detroit News), Erin Nicole (WXYZ) and Mike Lodish (former NFL player).
“I’m playing against some of the best players in the nation, and I didn’t know that coming in. The key to success I found is speed,” Foster said.
“I think they wanted me to score 20 points tonight and be like Kobe Bryant, but I was a little bit more like Rodney Stuckey.”
The Rollers’ offense was led by professional wheelchair basketball players Maurice Phillips Jr. and Jesus Villa, who gave new meaning to the give-and-go play.
“This is my second year, so I was looking forward to showing off a little bit,” Villa said.
Villa scored a few key baskets at the end of the game to put his team on top and get the 36-34 win.
Suh makes an impression
Suh already has an NFL Rookie of the Year award on his resume, but on Thursday night, he played the role of community activist.
Suh was talking to players, signing autographs and warming up with them before the game.
“As you know, Ndamukong is a great supporter of Detroit. We were so excited that he accepted our invitation,” said Cheryl Angelelli, the institute’s director of marketing and public relations.
During the game, Suh bantered with the referee, who was giving his team fouls to keep the game close.
He is quickly becoming not only a Detroit superstar, but a role model.
“I embraced the city before I even got here when I was drafted here, and it’s something I will continue to do and enjoy,” Suh said.