Brian Grant's Shake It Till We Make it Gala
By Anees Posted in: BrandonRoy, Heat, Blazers, GregOden, rosegarden, briangrant, rasheedwallace, patriley, muhammadali, gala, parkinsonsdisease
Hey my fellow Blazer maniacs! I was one of hte fortunate individuals to be at the Shake It Til We Make It Gala that Brian Grant put on last night at the Rose Garden - and, wow - it was for a great cause and it was a basketball and of course, Blazers' fan HEAVEN
! Just to get this out of the way, here were the NBA personalities/celebrities that were present at the Gala:
Muhammad Ali (not NBA of course, but just maybe the most loved athlete in sports)
Michael J. Fox
Daniel Baldwin (???) - he sat just behind me
For those of you who haven't checked out my profile, I'm a medical student, so both as a Blazer fan or rather, a Brian Grant fan (how can one not be??!) and as a medical student, it was a very humbling experience. Knowing how debilitating the disease becomes and seeing people we see on TV that have it, as well as having a close family member that was recently diagnosed with the disease, made it even more real and really touched me, Whether it was seeing Mr. Fox's very apparent tremors (he was trying to place his hands at his side/in his pockets during his speech), BG's slight tremor, or seeing my family friend, also named Brian, trying hard to suppress his tremors as much as possible, the reality of the condition really hit me, as silly as that sounds, given that it is in the public eye (we know someone close who has the disease or the fact that it is not one of those rare diseases that we don't hear much about).
Sadly, seeing young individuals now being diagnosed with a condition that is usually associated with the elderly, makes one really think about one's own condition - the fact that we are healthy and that all of a sudden, our health can change, I think this is something we all know and I've had personal experience with - my father was diagnosed with cancer and within two months, he was gone.
Anyways, the event really made me reflect and be extra thankful. I sincerely wish Brian Grant and all others suffering as he is, all the best; that BG, the same way he fought Karl Malone on the court, will give PD the same fight and more off the court. He showed remarkable resolve and toughness through his career and I think he is going to show those same qualities in this battle.
On a lighter note - I will say I did get a picture, along with my cousins that I attended the Gala with (my family is Indian, where cousins are just like siblings and we all grew up here in Portland, aside from one cousin who is British, but has now spent more of his life here than in London, so this was just like going with my immediate family for all intents and purposes) with Charles Barkley, though I too, don't agree with his opinions and comments on TNT and elsewhere, but just had to! Sorry guys! :-) This British cousin of mine, due to his line of work, has gotten to know some of the players over the years, and this included Jerome "Mercy" Kersey, so I got to shake Jerome's hand. Clyde the GLide was only 2 tables away from me, but I didn't go up to him, though my female cousins did. I managed to get a pic with BG himself right before he left the arena with his family, what a class guy to say the least. My cousin also knows Larry Miller, so while I didn't meet him, for a time during the musical entertainment at the end of the Gala, he and Rich Cho stood just inches away from me near our table for 10-15 minutes and at one point, as I walked past Mr. Miller, I did momentarily make contact as we do when we have to pass by someone without bumping them, to let them know we are there, lol, so that was my only contact with Mr. Miller. I did grab a glimpse of The Greatest, as he was 3 tables away, but my cousins did get some pictures of him as he sat (as he has had PD for 20+ years, I have to admit, he is not looking as good these days, face was expressionless, which seems to fit with the 'blunted, mask-like face that is characteristic of PD at a certain stage) and we of course, gave him a standing ovation at BG's asking.
As for the speeches, the keynote speaker was Pat Riley and he related some stories of NBA players throughout the years and how we battle - stories of Eddie House (who again, was present) was supposed to defend MJ during a game, but after avoiding being dunked on my MJ, was told me BG that from now on, "we are going to meet MJ at the rim" and Mr. Riley, then said, we all have to meet BG at the rim with our effort to support the cause vs. PD. He is a great speaker, someone who can really motivate, as BG alluded to when he played for Miami, how he made him and his teammates really work. Also, Mr. Riley told of how he received phone calls when players fell ill - Magic/AIDS, 'Zo/kidney disease and BG/Parkinson's Disease and how he hung up and cried each time.
Mr. Fox's speech - wow - very touching indeed. He told of how PD is like being thrown into traffic and knowing that the bus is coming, but just not when it is arriving, when it is going to run you down and that his mission is to change the bus route . . . .he also said, we don't unload our shoulders when things get tough (I'm paraphrasing here, I might not have it exactly right, so forgive me), but we pray for broader shoulders and he joked, I prayed for this and Brian Grant showed up! That garnered a lot of laughs, and followed that by saying, "BG's got the broadest shoulders I have every seen" and at that BG made a pose to accentuate his shoulders even more - adorable :-)
Brian Grant, who spoke after Mr. Riley, said that he found out he was to follow the coach, he said "Damn"
After the speeches, we were entertained by Rafael Saadiq, who really brought the house down and eventually people were dancing next to their tables, in the front of the stage and in the back area behind the tables.
It was a great night.
I've posted some pictures here, so check those out - I'll post more when I get the photos from my cousins' camera so you can see me (hehe) and I will also be posting videos that I took on my YouTube channel later and will either embed them or link to them here. If you went to the Gala as well, let me know what you thought.
-Anees, The Indian Guy :-)