The Experience, an expansion team in the American Basketball Association (ABA), will participate in former NBA player Dion Glover’s “Stop the Bullying Tour” which will touch down at Spalding High School this Saturday starting at 4 p.m.
The all-afternoon event will culminate with the Experience facing a select group of NBA All-Stars in an exhibition game Saturday night at the Spalding High gym, similar to what the Experience did at the Riverdale High School gym back on Oct. 30. The core group of NBA players who participated at Riverdale were the Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith and Damien Wilkins, Philadelphia 76ers guard Louis Williams, Anthony Morrow of the Golden State Warriors and Jarrett Jack of the New Orleans Hornets. In a surprise to everyone, Glover’s crew also brought to Riverdale NBA players Derrick Favors of the Utah Jazz and Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies, who resides in Atlanta in the off-season. These NBA players and possibly a few more will come to Spalding High Saturday.
The Experience defeated the NBA All-Stars at Riverdale High 112-109 on a 3-pointer by Experience forward and Griffin native Jay Brown in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. That loss will definitely be on the NBA All-Stars’ minds this weekend when they show up at Spalding High.
“The NBA players were not happy to lose to us,” said Experience head coach, general manager and Griffin native Alan “Duck” Richards. “I’m sure the NBA guys will bring it even harder this time. You never know who will show up to play on Saturday.”
The Experience is pulling out all the stops for their first trip to Griffin.
“As a Griffin native, I never got a chance to see this kind of game when I was a kid,” said Richards. “To me, this is a big thing to have an event like this held in Griffin, Ga. for these young people to see.”
There will be a free “Fan Fare” event starting at 4 p.m. in the Spalding High parking lot, which will last approximately one hour. Fans will get a chance to meet and greet the Experience players and the Experience Dance Team and also see a step show from the SHS stepping crew. A DJ will be at the Fan Fare playing music and the main event will be shooting on an outdoor basketball goal, which will be a special treat for the fans. If any fan can make a half-court shot on that outdoor goal, he or she will receive a free ticket to the game.
And speaking of tickets to the game, the prices are as follows: Adults will be charged $10, middle school and high school students will pay $5 and kids 10-and-under get in free if they’re accompanied by a paying adult. All funds collected will go to the Spalding High girls basketball program.
“I believe this will be a great opportunity for the city of Griffin to see these professional basketball players in person,” said Spalding High girls basketball coach Demetrius King. “I saw the game at Riverdale High and it was great. I’m hoping people will enjoy this game here as well.”
After the Fan Fare ends, everyone will be ushered into the gym and be treated to a local youth-league basketball game.
“We’ve got to show love to the youth here in Griffin. I got my start coaching the youth here and it’s a big deal for fans to come out and see the local kids play,” Richards said.
After the youth finish playing, there will be a pre-game autograph session and a shootaround by the Experience and a possible presentation to Experience associate head coach Joe Ward. A regular-season ABA game featuring the Experience vs. the Columbus Ballers is also a possibility, but both Richards and King said they are still in discussion about that.
Richards also said there’s a chance that local radio station WKEU AM-1450/FM-88.9 The Rock will be broadcasting the game and a post-game show.
“We did an interview at WKEU the other day and it went great,” Richards said.
The halftime entertainment will be provided by BET comedian “Tiny” and the Experience Dance Team.
“It should be a great event and I’m looking forward to it,” King said.