Good sports at annual Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular

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A lot of good sports from the NBA, NFL, MLB, the Olympics and more teamed up to enjoy a brotherhood of mutual athletic camaraderie while they supported a good cause and got out the message—“Be Spectacular.”

The 32nd annual Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular on April 3rd had the W Hotel in Westwood as the gathering place, with dinner from the kitchen of STK for all the hungry players.

It was an event recognizing the best on and off the field. Clippers star Blake Griffin was there having fun along with Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Austin Rivers and a bunch of teammates, plus coach Armond Hill and head coach Doc Rivers. The L.A. Rams were there too with the darling safety Marqui Christian and linebacker Mark Barron, plus Dallas Cowboy Orlando Scandrick, boxer Daniel Franco, track star Lauren Wells and baseball legend Dave Winfield, who played for the Angels during his 22-year career.

For 32 years, the sports stars have supported the Sports Spectacular event producing memorable moments and friendships among the world’s best athletes, all in support of the fantastic work of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. They help raise funds to benefit the Sports Spectacular Diabetes & Obesity Wellness & Research Center at Cedars-Sinai and honor those who help the cause.

Joining the fight against diabetes and obesity was event honoree New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, the Super Bowl superstar who received the Sports Spectacular Spirit Award for his work against diabetes. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul made the presentation. Griffin said they were proud the Clippers won the Spirit Award last year, “and we were really hoping to repeat, but since we have so much admiration for this year’s honoree, we’re glad to hand it over to Dont’a Hightower.”

“It’s very humbling to receive this. This is special, to be honored as a person rather than a football player,” Hightower said about his Spirit Award, accepting it with his mother L’Tanya by his side. Hightower took up the fight against diabetes after his mother was diagnosed with the disease. “I know so many of us athletes are working to make changes in our communities, but unfortunately the public doesn’t always see that. This woman with me is the reason I’m here tonight. Thank you, mom for everything you’ve done for me. When you were diagnosed with diabetes, it inspired me to get out and do this important work about awareness and getting tested. So mom this is for you.”

Also, honored for being inspiring and supporting the cause were Olympic medalists DeAndre Jordan, Kristi Castlin, Madison Kocian and Cedars Sinai’s Dr. Suzanne Devkota PhD. for her pioneering research to help create healthier futures.

The Sports Spectacular events have raised more than $25 million for the Sports Spectacular Health and Wellness Center at Cedars-Sinai in an effort to combat diabetes and obesity by funding new medical research and encouraging healthy eating and exercise. This year’s gala benefited the Center and these initiatives, as well as furthering the foundation’s mission of linking world-class athletes and innovative medical research to advance wellness for all.

The crowd of sports luminaries and VIPs included actor-producer Sean Hayes, Chuck Liddell, Michael Hitchcock, Laura Govan, Rachel DeMita, Dolvett Quince, Tim Bagley, Cordell Broadus, La Mala Guerrera, Tonya Turner, Draya Michele, ESPN sports reporter Julie Stewart-Binks and, always a joy to see, Steve Webster from CMPR/Crimson Marketing, coordinating the fundraising sports memorabilia and event.

Emceeing the fun night was sports commentator and entertainment reporter Ben Lyons.

Margie Barron is a member of the Television Critics Association and has written for a variety of top publications for more than 35 years. Among her credits: being featured in the movie “Alligator” and being half of the husband and wife writing team of Margie and Frank Barron.

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