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St. Louis hoops game to help Joplin, set record

Friday, March 23, 2012

ST. LOUIS -- A nearly five-day basketball game under way in St. Louis is intended to raise money for the Joplin tornado recovery effort and set a possible world record.

The game involving mostly St. Louis-area businessmen tipped off early Wednesday at the Missouri Athletic Club. The game is scheduled to end Sunday night, The Joplin Globe reported.

The 24 players are raising money for Joplin recovery efforts from the May 22, 2011, tornado that killed more than 160 people and damaged much of the southwest Missouri city. The game's organizers also hope to set a Guinness World Record for the longest marathon basketball game played.

The game will be nonstop for 110 hours, with no timeouts, and rests for the players are not to exceed three hours. The 24 players are divided into two 12-member squads called Team St. Louis and Team Joplin.

Chuck Williams, a co-producer of the event, said the game will be physically and mentally challenging.

"But the experience is nothing compared to horrors thrust on the people of Joplin last spring," he said. "The 32 minutes of hell when the tornado was on the ground must have seemed like 110 hours to them. We're honored to give an assist."

The players toured Joplin in January and are playing in uniforms that replicate the Joplin High School basketball uniforms. The uniforms also include a butterfly patch and other elements from a Joplin mural.

"They selected Joplin before they ever contacted us; they were really moved by everything they saw," said Gary Box, of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Box said the chamber will distribute proceeds from the game to individuals, families and businesses whose property losses were either underinsured or not covered by insurance companies or federal disaster assistance.

The group has recruited a number of corporate sponsors, and individual sponsors are being added on the group's Internet site and Facebook page, Box said.


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