LAWRENCE, Kan. Approximately 100 golfers braved the rain for a good cause at the Fifth Annual National Championship Classic Golf Tournament hosted by former KU men's basketball great and two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers' foundation at the Alvamar Country Club Monday afternoon.
The two-day event hosted by the Mario V. Chalmers Foundation, included a mixer on Sunday and the golf tourney to benefit his foundation, which includes Mario's Closet located at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, as well as the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Kansas.
"The donations from the tournament go to my foundation, which goes to support breast cancer and youth initiatives," Chalmers told reporters prior to the 25-team tournament.
Chalmers, the 2008 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, said making the game-tying shot against Memphis in the title game has boosted him to be able to host such an event.
"That is the reason we are here today," the Anchorage, Alaska, native said. "That (making the shot) helped propel me to the next level and propel all the things I wanted to do with my foundation. It made for a perfect opportunity."
The fame of being a high school state champion, an NCAA champion and a two-time NBA champion has not affected Chalmers.
"We stay close," former KU guard Jeff Hawkins, who played the 2005-06 season alongside Chalmers said. "During the season we text each other and during the summer we talk. Mario's always been a great friend. He hasn't changed since he first got to Lawrence. He has the same mindset, a caring guy who loves to put others first."
"He deserves it because he works so hard and his dad and mom have trained him growing up of who he is going to be," KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend said of Chalmers and his parents Ronnie and Almarie. "He believes in God and has great faith. I'm happy for him and his family and all the success and the fact that he comes back and gives to the community is great. He will always be a special part of the KU family."
Chalmers' stay in the Lawrence area was extended following his winning the 2013 NBA Title with the Miami Heat in June. He hosted a basketball camp for youth in Olathe, Kan., July 22-25 and made numerous charity appearances to raise money and awareness for his foundation before hosting the National Championship Classic Golf Tournament for the fifth-straight year.
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