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Shaq to don many hats for charity

Expect to see Lakers star coaching, posing, partying during Celebrity Basketball Weekend.

By JAMAL THALJI, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 11, 2002

Expect to see Lakers star coaching, posing, partying during Celebrity Basketball Weekend.

TAMPA -- He will dine with Gov. Jeb Bush at Marriott Waterside, sign autographs and pose for photos at his basketball clinic in USF Sun Dome, then coach a team of sports and entertainment stars at the Ice Palace.

Get ready Tampa Bay: Here comes Shaq.

Starting Friday, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal will host his Tampa Bay Celebrity Basketball Weekend to benefit charity.

Orlando All-Star Tracy McGrady will join the Lakers star as celebrity coach for the Aug. 18 all-star game at 7 p.m. in the Ice Palace.

Scheduled to join them from the NBA are Vince Carter, Dale Davis, Gary Trent, rookie Chris Wilcox of Maryland and former Atlanta star Dominique Wilkins.

Run DMC will perform at halftime. Ticket prices are $20, $30, $40, $60 and $250. Tickets can be purchased at the Ice Palace, Ticketmaster locations or Contact the Ice Palace ticket office at (813) 301-2500 or Ticketmaster at (813) 287-8844 or (727) 898-2100.

Other celebrities scheduled to appear include former Harlem Globetrotters Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon, former NFL receiver Andre Rison and former Notre Dame quarterback Tony Rice.

Several boxers will attend, including junior lightweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., Antonio Tarver, Tyrone Booze and St. Petersburg's Winky Wright.

The weekend will begin Friday night with an exclusive dinner at the Marriott Waterside. For $100 a plate, donors can dine with O'Neal and the governor at the Shaquille O'Neal Attacks Literacy dinner. Tampa Mayor Dick Greco will present O'Neal with a key to the city. For tickets, call (813) 558-0255.

Then O'Neal heads to USF Sun Dome with NBA friends for a two-day basketball clinic and autograph and photo session.

The cost is $250 per participant, ages 8-19, and includes a ticket to Sunday's all-star game. Saturday's session is 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday's is 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Spots are limited to 500. For more information, call (813) 873-7779 or visit

The celebrity weekend will benefit Tampa Bay READS, the Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives, the St. Petersburg Free Clinic and the American Stroke Association.

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