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Major League Baseball player Curtis Granderson recently talked to Mlive.com about his upcoming charity basketball game.

“My off-season is different from anyone else’s,” he said in the interview. "Last year, I wanted to do a big event, but didn’t want to seem like I was copying everyone else. A lot of athletes have done bowling events. I love basketball, so I thought that may be a good fit.

“As for rounding up participants – it has been easy. They all have a passion for wanting to help out the educational system in Michigan’s inner cities. They believe in the cause. I didn’t want to just bring in names to bring in names. I wanted to bring in people who believe in what my foundation is trying to do.”

The second annual Celebrity Shootout will take place on Saturday, January 17, at Lake Orion High School north of Detroit, and will benefit the Grand Kids Foundation, a charity Granderson established to help underprivileged children in Detroit and other areas. Expected to take part in the event are former University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr, WNBA Detroit Shock forward Sheryl Ford, former Detroit Lions All-Pro players Herman Moore and Lomas Brown, former Michigan football and NFL standout Tyrone Wheatley, former Super Bowl MVP and Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, UFC star “Sugar” Rashad Evans, professional boxing super-middleweight Andre Dirrell, 2008 Miss America winner Kirsten Haglund, ESPN anchor Dana Jacobson, 2007 Playboy Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood, and Project Runway’sJoe Faris.

“Right now every dollar counts,” said Granderson. "Of course we have goals, but those can be greedy. With the economy in the position it is in throughout Michigan right now, we just have to cross our fingers. It’s tough to ask people during this time to come out and pay $20 per person to watch a bunch of celebrities play basketball.

“I do want them to know, though, that my foundation has zero operating costs. We don’t pay employees or pay for celebrities to come in for this event. We have also had some groups jump in with in-kind sponsorships such as the Townsend Hotel, to help with those costs as well. Every penny on every dollar goes to this cause.”

Advance tickets for the event are available on the Grand Kids Foundation Web site at www.grandkidsfoundation.org or at www.curtisgranderson.com, and the complete interview can be read here.

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