Hip-Hop Hoops

South Beach on Memorial Day weekend looks like a scene from a rap music video -- parties on the beach, baller types cruising down Ocean Drive in expensive rentals with oversize gleaming rims, and girls spilling out of tiny bikini tops. The last weekend in May has become a much-anticipated urban ritual. Rap-loving crowds from points north flock to our sunny shores for a little R and R, and a whole lot of celebrating. And because Memorial Day in Miami and famous people go together like platinum and diamonds, your long festivity-filled weekend wouldn't be complete without a few celebrity sightings. Rather than pleading with a club bouncer to please, please, please let you into the VIP section, you can watch some of your favorite stars sweat for a righteous cause at the fifth annual Memorial Day Weekend Celebrity Basketball Game.

Last year the Miami Arena was packed with more than 15,000 basketball fans. This year the crowd is expected to be even bigger. Mix-tape superstar and MTV personality DJ Clue (who apparently takes the competition and his rep as a talented b-baller quite seriously) was named MVP of last year's game. He'll be defending his title against some top athletes, including Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, Duane Starks of the New England Patriots, and Randy Moss of the Minnesota Vikings. Some former Miami Hurricane football players will hit the basketball court for a change: Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans, Edgerrin James of the Indiana Colts, and Willis McGahee and Santana Moss of the Buffalo Bills will do their part to support local charities. Boxers Zab Judah, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Winky Wright will lay down the gloves and duke it out by shooting hoops.

Blinged out and  ready to ball
Courtesy of Bullet Proof Management
Blinged out and ready to ball

Pint-size hip-hoppers Lil' Wayne and Ja Rule will be competing for the title of MVCP (Most Vertically Challenged Player). See if Fat Joe breaks a sweat as he coaches his team. Miami mainstays Uncle Luke and 99 Jamz (WEDR-FM 99.1) morning show DJ the Big Lip Bandit will make locals proud with their court skills. Chart topper Fabolous might forget to "Breathe," and Jadakiss may well ask himself, "Why?" as they watch Miami's own gold-mouthed hip-hop culture booster Trick Daddy "Take It to da House." The party will begin at halftime, when the sultry pop-burlesque group The Pussycat Dolls strut their stuff and perform their cover of the bass-heavy come-on track "Don't Cha," and everyone's favorite educated Mississippi thug David Banner will get the crowd jumping with his hit songs "Like a Pimp," "Crank It Up," and "I Ain't Got Nothin'." Proceeds from this star-studded event will be donated to five special community nonprofit charities, including the Liberty City Boys & Girls Club and the Optimist Club of Greater Goulds. Free tickets will be awarded to the top five percent of high school seniors with outstanding FCAT scores from inner-city schools.

 
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