Dwight Howard was in great spirits (as he should have been after his 21 boards) at the event, held at the Staples Center-adjacent Club Nokia.
The night, hosted by Lakers commentator John Ireland, comedienne Heather McDonald and TV personality Jillian Barberie, included Pechanga Casino gaming table stations, special performances from the Laker Girls, a performance by RedFoo and three live paintings from artist David Garibaldi of Kobe Bryant, the late Dr. Jerry Buss and the Lakers emblem, which were auctioned off live for charity. The night, which helped to raise funds for inspiring and youth-driven local communities, culminated with player Pau Gasol’s tips for kids to “follow your dreams and don’t give up!”
Fans had the chance to battle their favorite players such as Howard in a game of Just Dance or Steve Nash at the popchips Pop-a-Shot hoops. Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, hung out with RedFoo in the High Rollers VIP Suite.
Coach Mike D’Antoni as well as players Metta World Peace, Steve Blake, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill, Antawn Jamison, Darius Morris, Jodie Meeks and Robert Sacre were also present.
Celebrities such as Modern Family stars Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were on hand, as were Glee friends and co-stars Amber Riley, Chord Overstreet and Harry Shum Jr.; Chad Michael Murray, Cheryl Burke, Hailee Steinfeld, Shenae Grimes, Ryan Kwanten, and Derek Hough also attended. Gilles Marini, David Arquette, Nick Zano and Kevin Dillon were among the stars spotted playing poker. Buss’ daughter, Janie Drexel, was also present as she runs the Foundation.
OneWest Bank and Pechanga Resort & Casino sponsored the evening, which also featured food from Wolfgang Puck and drinks from Finlandia Vodka; a VIP gifting station included items from Simon G. Jewelry, Frankie B. Denim, OceanMinded, Ultimate Ears, GoodWorks, BlenderBottle and La Freak.