Relive a Wildcats Victory for a Great Cause
August 24, 2013
by Bree Collins
College basketball is a big deal in Tucson, to say the least, and those who follow closely know that 1997 was a very good year for the Arizona Wildcats, who beat out the University of Kentucky to win the NCAA National Championship. It was a thrilling game, and on September 27th the Primavera Foundation and Blair Charity Group have teamed up to give fans a chance to re-live the excitement and glory of that victory at Downtown’s Fox Theatre, where the game will be broadcast on the big screen.
The Primavera Foundation has addressed poverty and homelessness for 30 years through safe, affordable housing, workforce development, and neighborhood revitalization. The Blair Charity Group, which was founded by professional basketball player and former Arizona Wildcat Joseph Blair, supports programs that benefit the Southern Arizona community, and offers collaboration and consultation to the non-profit sector. They are known for their support of the Arizona Basketball Academy, which offers a pro-bono basketball camp to youth in the Tucson community and has to date served over 1,000 kids.
The event will involve more than just watching the game. Wildcats players from the 1997 Wildcats team are returning to Tucson to offer live commentary during time-outs and half-time. It will be a chance for Jason Terry, Miles Simon, Eugene Edgerson, John Ash and A.J. Bramlett – with more announced all the time on the #97cats Twitter account – to explain what they experienced during these moments. The players have maintained friendships over the years and it will be the first time they watch the game together.
There will be popcorn and drinks – just like you’re at the game – and a raffle where the winner is based on how the plays are called. “We want people to dress in their gear and yell and scream,” says Blair. “It will be just as thrilling as the first time.” Then head over to Hotel Congress for the after party. VIP tickets include access to the the reception at 6pm with the players, drink tickets, and seating in the VIP section. All proceeds will benefit the Primavera Foundation and the Blair Charity Group.
The idea came about after Michael Finkelstein, Director of Operations at Primavera, watched the 1997 Championship game with his friends to lift their spirits after witnessing Arizona’s tough loss against Illinois in 2005. “We were cheering,” says Finkelstein. “We’d forgotten the ending – we remembered who won, of course, but we couldn’t remember exactly how it happened.” They had so much fun that Finkelstein realized it would make a great event for charity.
The Primavera Foundation chose the Fox Theatre as their venue to connect with Downtown. “We want Tucson to get to know us,” says Finkelstein. “And to show Primavera’s commitment to Downtown and to making a difference.” Finkelstein found a great partner in Joseph Blair and the Blair Charity Group. “Joseph Blair is one of those basketball players that really gives back to the community,” says Finkelstein. He goes on to say that the Wildcats – current and former – are some of the most active athletes in the country when it comes to lending a helping hand. Joseph Blair is pleased to collaborate with the Primavera Foundation as well. “It was a no-brainer,” says Blair. “Their work really speaks for itself.”
Visit 97cats.com to purchase tickets and find more information.