The “Hang the Net Celebrity Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest” is a special event created by Art Blevins in 1986 when he was the supervisor at South Fork Gymnasium. It was designed as a basketball contest comprised of a 3-point shootout and a slam dunk contest. In the shootout portion, children, local athletes and celebrities shoot from outside the 3-point line with the objective of not only hitting, but also hanging the net over the rim for extra points. Thus you have the event name. Still, the objective of the contest is to give children a chance to demonstrate their three-point shooting skills while also affording them the opportunity to meet local celebrities, legends and heroes.
“Hang-The-Net” started with about 100 participants and spectators, 2 local sponsors and 1 local celebrity, news anchor Cameron Kent of WXII-TV12. When Art moved from South Fork to Hanes Hosiery in 1992, the event moved with him. In 2001, “Hang-The-Net” was put on hold for a few years as Hanes Hosiery was demolished in order to replace it on the same grounds with the cities’ newest facility which opened back up in 2004. After the Grand Re-Opening, plans were made to host the 16th edition in 2006 and have continued every year since. Since the beginning days in 1986, it has grown to include 12 or more local sponsors, media coverage from 3 local television stations, 2 local newspapers and 2 local radio stations, with more than 500 people in attendance.
Over the years, the list of local celebrities and college stars taking part in “Hang the Net” has grown to include such names as: former University of South Carolina All-American B.J. McKie; former WFU Women’s Basketball Coach Charlene Curtis; former WSSU and Fayetteville State coach Sam Hangar; former WSSU and South Carolina Assistant Coach Rick Duckett; the late great WFU Coach Skip Prosser and the Deacon coaching staff; former WFU and NBA All-Star Josh Howard; former UNC Lady Tar Heel and WNBA Star Camille Little; former College of Charleston Southern star Natalie Caldwell; former UNC-Wilmington star Joel Justus; former Wake Forest star Porsche Jones; current and former WFU stars C.J. Harris, Ty Walker, L.D. Williams, Willie Griffin, Jerry Braswell, Taron Downey and Randolph Childress; former WSSU stars Tim Grant, Carlos Mumford, Monty Gray, Darryl “Big Dog” Hardy, and Brandon Hobbs; former LSU star Sean Gipson; former Florida star Jermaine Carlton; local media personalities Dave Goren, and Marlo Klain (now with ESPN) of WXII-12, Scott Pryzwansky of WFMY-2, Danny Har nden of Fox 8, Brian Formica of WFMY-2, Austin Caviness WXII-12 Suzy Stark of News 14, DJ Buster Brown of radio and television fame, Columnist Sam Davis, Columnists Kim Underwood, John Dell, Lisa O’Donnell and Michael Huie of the Winston-Salem Journal; former NFL players James Clyburn, Richard Huntley, and Jack Cameron; former UNC Tar Heels ReyShawn Terry, Quentin Thomas, Mike Copeland, and Terrence Petree. We also have local stars Flagge Stanfield, Travis Holcomb-Faye, Whit Holcomb-Faye, Walt Baxley, Danny Gathings, “Popbottle” Thomas, and many more! With such an extensive guest list, it’s no wonder why the “Hang the Net Celebrity Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest” is one of the biggest and hottest special events of the summer.
A “Living Legends” Award has also been presented over the years to area icons including the late Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines, the late, great Hall of Fame Sportswriter Mary Garber, Hall of Fame Hanes Hosiery Industrial Women’s Basketball stars Eckie Jordan and the late, great Eunice Futch, WSSU All-CIAA Basketball standout William English; former New York Knick Luther “Ticky” Burden, the late Mr. James “Catfish” Sprinkle, Claudette Weston, Coach Tom Muse, former Harlem Globetrotter Robert Little, former All American and WFU stars Charlie Davis and Skip Brown, local high school coaching legends Howard West and Brian Robinson, NFL head coach and former WFU Coach Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lion star Germaine Crowell, current WFU Football Head Coach Jim Grobe, former local star Jamie Wilkes Claudette Weston , WXII news anchor Cameron Kent, John Dell with the Winston-Salem Journal, UNC Lady Tar Heel and WNBA star LaQuanda Barksdale, and WSSU and NBA Hall of Fame star Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, WS Prep Coach Andre Gould, Mt. Tabor Coach Andy Muse, Former UNC Tar Heel Star Reyshawn Terry, & Sports Writers Dave Goren & Sam Davis.
The best part about the “Hang the Net” Contest is that is FREE to the public. To ensure that each youngster receives something for their participation, Art Blevins, his loyal staff and volunteers go out into the community and knock on doors, write letters and call on friends and sponsors in an effort to help secure posters, coupons, drinks, snacks, T-shirts, basketballs and various other door prizes. The amount of man hours Blevins puts into this events is immeasurable yet it doesn’t keep him from doing it year after year.
Throughout the history of “Hang the Net” Art Blevins has also enlisted the services of a great supporting cast to aid with his effort. Special Thanks go out to these loyal friends, supporters and volunteers:
“DJ Diamond” Jones; Denise Scott-Johnson and Tim Grant; Kim Underwood; Sam Davis; Kenny Ferris; Claudette Weston and Joel Weston; Gary Lash; Jeremiah Hawks, Brandi Ingram ; Emerald Bowman; Kasey Taylor; Lisa Meadows; John Justus; David, Adam, and Mr. Kevin Walker, Rick and Julia Page, Avery Faucett, John Dell & Patrice Johnson ,Glenn Stuart, and Kenny Ferris..
McDonald’s, Powerade, Pepsi-Cola, Pages Sports, Papa John’s Pizza, The Finish Line, Omega Sports, Wendy’s, Weston & Associates, ISP Sports Marketing, Jamie Wilkes Trophies and the Winston-Salem Chronicle., Burger King, and Chick-Fil-A
If you would like to help sponsor this year’s event or know of a local or national superstar that would like to participate, please contact Art Blevins.
Event: “Hang the Net Celebrity Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest”
Date: July 24, 2014
Contact: Art Blevins, Recreation Center Supervisor
Location: Hanes Hosiery Community Center
Address: 501 Reynolds Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Phone: (336) 727-2428 or (336) 659-9691
We invite everyone to come out see what “Hang the Net” is all about and what it means to the children of Winston-Salem. Help make a difference by supporting the “Hang the Net Celebrity Shootout and Slam Dunk Contest.”