Forget the Harlem Globetrotters. Saturday’s hard court matchup between the Lebanon police officers and local attorneys may be slightly less entertaining than the Washington Generals playing themselves.
Despite the billing, the real winner will be Bobby “Pirate Bob” Harris, who was diagnosed with brain cancer about a year ago.
“I got involved with Bobby since about the time he was diagnosed,” said Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen. “To my guys, Bobby is one of those heroes because they have seen all the things he has gone through.”
Bowen said he came to know Harris through a friend, Rachel Hutchings, who is one of the Harris’ neighbors. Since the time Harris came home from the hospital, Lebanon police has tried to help out where it could, and Saturday’s game is another example.
The benefit basketball game between Lebanon police officers [the Peace Keepers] and local attorneys [the Legal Eagles], honoring Harris, will be Saturday at noon at Castle Heights Elementary School. Tickets are $5. Concessions will be available. All proceeds will go directly to the Harris family to help pay medical expenses.
Bowen said the game would be more like a celebration after Harris found out he was cancer free about a week ago.
“It’s going to be a fun time,” Bowen said. “Obviously we will be there to support Bobby. These guys like things like this to support the community rather than writing tickets and arresting people.”
Bowen said special guest country music singer Daryle Singletary will be on hand to sing the “National Anthem.” The event will also feature cheerleaders and door prizes.
City attorney Andy Wright serves as the captain of the Legal Eagles. He agreed the game would be all about helping Harris.
“It just breaks my heart to see these kids with brain cancer,” Wright said. “We will do whatever I can to help them.”
As far as how the teams stack up, both Wright and Bowen said their respective team is superior.
“Our best player is going to be attorney Melanie Bean,” Wright said. “She was draining three-pointers at practice like you wouldn’t believe. She earned her undergrad at Cumberland playing basketball.
“We have put together a good team, but we really don’t have any depth. We only have about nine players, so they could beat us with some fresh legs coming off the bench.
“They should have teamed up with the fire department because they are going to need EMTs to haul them off the court.”
Bowen, however, sees the matchup a different way. He said the attorneys should serve as little competition against the officers, which feature about four former high school standouts.
“I know my guys have been practicing for about a month,” Bowen said. “I think our theory is to wear them down. Andy suggested we play half court, and we said no. I am very confident in our team. Just a good, old-fashioned whooping is what is going to happen.
“Definitely pride will be on the line, and I don’t expect to walk out after my team loses.”