Members of Congress coasted to victory in a hoops clinic against Georgetown University Law Center faculty and staff on Wednesday night, raising a record sum for a charity that provides legal aid to D.C.’s homeless.
A star-studded congressional team, the “Hill’s Angels,” was powered by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) on its way to a 61-49 win against the “Hoya Lawyas” in the 24th annual Home Court Charity Basketball Game.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama’s personal aide, Reggie Love, also played for the political juggernaut.
The exhibition game, orchestrated primarily by law students, raised more than $414,000 for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. The charity provides free legal services to the D.C. homeless on issues ranging from unfair evictions to acquiring food stamps.
About 350 people filled the bleachers at the Trinity-Washington University basketball center, many of them students who came to cheer on the Law Center team. A new addition to the Hoya Lawyas was William Treanor, the Law Center’s dean.
“We won last year, and I have to say this year they’ve gone all-out,” Treanor said at halftime. “They’ve got one former pro player and at least three former college players, but we’re pretty pleased with what we’re doing. We have the most heart.”
Sen. Brown, known in his playing days as “Downtown Scotty Brown” at Tufts University, led the Hill’s Angels in scoring with 15 points. Thune, who also played in college and whom Brown calls “the fastest man in Congress,” added nine points and eight rebounds.
Duncan, a co-captain in his days with the Harvard Crimson, also had a brief professional stint in Australia. The secretary of education also played in this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend celebrity basketball game in Los Angeles. He scored nine points Wednesday and led his team in assists.
“This is the least I could do to come out and support this extraordinary cause,” Duncan said after the game. “The students are doing such great work and making a huge difference in the community, so I was happy to be a small, small part of this.”
Rooting for both squads were cheerleaders from Georgetown and Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School in Southeast D.C. Jack the Bulldog also made an appearance to devour a box topped by a miniature Capitol dome replica.
The competitive contest was filled with memorable moments. In the first half, Brown blocked the shot of Associate Professor Laura Donohue, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd. On the first possession of the second half, Reggie Love, a former national champion with Duke University’s Blue Devils, threw down a powerful two-handed dunk.
“I just wanted to remind everyone that I was here,” he said.
Reggie Love, a frequent basketball partner of President Obama, said he hopes the president can make it out to one of the next editions of the Home Court classic.
The congressional team was led by Thune and Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) and coached by Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.). The team featured three senators, two Senate aides and five members of the House of Representatives along with Duncan and Love. In 24 years, Home Court has raised nearly $4 million for the legal clinic, mostly through donations from attendees. The annual game provides over one-third of the charity’s budget.
“I was stunned at over $400,000 — it’s amazing,” Duncan said. “To see all the time and effort that the students put in, this what it’s all about. These are the future leaders. They are making a huge impact in the community. I’m just so proud of what they’re doing.”
Students also got a chance to get in on the action, when Aladdin Jaloudi (LAW ’12) sank a half-court shot to win $10,000. Jaloudi, whose raffle ticket won him the chance for the shot, banked in the heave after it circled around the rim several times.
“I think the odds that I would make that shot were about five percent,” Jaloudi said after making the basket. He said he had not touched a basketball in over six months and was mostly trying not to embarrass himself.
“I’m going to pay maybe 10 percent of my debt that I owe to all of the people sitting over there,” Jaloudi said of his plans for the $10,000 as he pointed to the Law Center’s bench.