Sports and entertainment stars including Michael Jordan, Will Smith, Don Cheadle, Bruce and Brody Jenner, Chevy Chase, Michael Phelps, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Jerry Rice and Wayne Gretzky among dozens of others gathered at Aria for the 12th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Celebration on Friday night.
The star-studded annual gala marks a night of celebration kicking off the two days of exclusive celebrity golf competition at Shadow Creek. Stars arrived on the red carpet in droves, stopping to smile for cameras as they met Joseph Domingues, a Make-A-Wish “wish kid” who fulfilled his dream of meeting Jordan earlier in the day. Joseph was able to meet many of his idols at the event, including Phelps (who gave Joseph some pointers on how to walk a red carpet), Marcus Allen, Stuart Scott, Roger Clemens, Vince Coleman, Jonathan Ogden, Ron Harper and Jerome Bettis.
At the gala celebration inside Aria, celebrities mingled while enjoying gourmet nosh from Jean Georges Steakhouse, Sage, Bar MASA, Tetsu, Sirio Ristorante, Lemongrass, Blossom and Javier’s. Guests also sipped craft cocktails from multiple bars sponsored by Ciroc and Moët Hennessy.
To enjoy the evening’s entertainment, Jordan sat front-and-center by the stage with fiancée Yvette Prieto, where he was joined by pal Will Smith.
The crowd also enjoyed a surprise show by Blue Man Group, who emerged from the crowd to dazzle guests with their immersive audiovisual comedy show, and a live performance by Grammy Award-winning artist John Legend, who admitted he was feeling “star struck” among his company for the evening. The soulful singer serenaded attendees with his hits including “Green Light” as he played piano.
Comedian/singer Wayne Brady headlined entertainment for the evening, delivering his signature interactive freestyle sketch comedy as he accepted storyline suggestions from the audience. Brady launched his hilarious performance with a “Stuck In an Elevator” skit, a topic suggested by Will Smith, whom Brady jokingly referred to as the “Fresh Prince” to the delight of the audience. Brady incorporated insider jests at various celebrities into his standup show, which was co-hosted by Jonathan Mangum.
CityCenter President and CEO Bobby Baldwin introduced “His Airness.” Jordan took the microphone to thank his friends, sponsors and volunteers for all of the hard work put in to make the charitable tournament a huge success. The champion wished his competitors good luck, but remarked that he was looking forward to winning come Sunday.
Later in the evening, the party transformed into a pop-up nightclub with R&B, EDM and hip-hop beats spun by DJ Irie. Celebs hit the dance floor into the early morning hours and NFL legend Jason Taylor was even spotted ascending the DJ booth to spin a few tracks for his friends.
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