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Hoop 4 Water Celebrity Basketball Game


Mo Pete leading the fast break down the floor, giving Uncle Snoop a run for his money.

FLINT, MI —  It was a blue carpet affair indeed on Saturday, May 21st at the Dort Federal Credit Union Events Center (better known to Flint natives as the old IMA). On behalf of World Artist Refuge, founded by Morris Peterson Jr., I had the pleasure of interviewing each guest as they walked in to the arena. The highly anticipated celebrity basketball game brought to you by Snoop Dogg and Mo Pete was finally happening!


One by one, the guests started trickling in – Flint and Detroit natives, alike. From the first ever elected woman Mayor of Flint, Karen Weaver to Mari Copeny (Little Miss Flint), and many others. You may remember Mari from the national attention she gained in recent months from the letter she wrote to President Barack Obama about the water crisis happening in her hometown. Other celebrities included Flint native and boxer Anthony Dirrell, MTV personality Sway Calloway (who coached Team Mo Pete), Eric Ebron (TE, Detroit Lions), CalicoeJJ Green, HaHa Davis, Detroit’s very own Trick Trick (who coached Team Snoop), Flint native and Morris’ former teammate, Mateen Cleaves, of course Mo Pete himself (who thankfully got the night off from his broadcasting duties with TSN in Canada), legendary Coach Tom Izzo (better known as God, if you’re a Spartan), and many more. It was truly quite the spectacle.

And the moment everyone had been waiting for… in walked Snoop Dogg, who postponed all interviews until post-game (with good reason). You want to talk about someone with tunnel vision? He literally walked into the tunnel, was embraced by a tight hug from Little Miss Flint, before disappearing into the locker room to change and get the game started.


Little Miss Flint embraces Snoop Dogg with a massive hug.


With the legendary Coach Izzo (aka God, if you’re a Spartan)


With legendary MTV personality, Sway Calloway


With fellow Spartan & NBA veteran, Mateen Cleaves


Detroit’s very own, Trick Trick, & Trish Trish


Interviewing Flint native, JJ Green


The basketball game was nothing short of a treat! With close to a thousand people in attendance to watch this fierce match-up, each player brought their A-game and held nothing back. From fast breaks to dunks to Snoop’s half-court shot to no-look passes, things got even more intense leading down to the wire. With the score tied at 97 in the final 2 minutes of the game, Mateen got fouled on a lay-up, and Snoop miraculously came back with a pass to Eric Ebron who dunked that ball right in. As the clock was winding down with just seconds left in the game, leave it to Mo Pete to come through with a clutch 3 pointer, for the win! You already know Coach Sway couldn’t be more proud to be “the winningest coach in Flint” (his words, not mine) while Uncle Trick Trick took the loss like a true G. Final score: Team Mo Pete: 104 | Team Snoop: 99


Coach Sway, Peterson, & Cleaves share a laugh mid-game.


DoGGy style!




The Godfather (Izzo), The DoGGfather (Snoop), Mo Pete, Hooper


Mayor Karen Weaver, Coach Izzo, Mateen Cleaves



Post-game, Snoop Dogg was presented with a Key to the City of Flint from Mayor Karen Weaver for showing impeccable support during the Flint Water Crisis. When called out for getting a bit emotional, Snoop replied, “I was emotional because I don’t even have a Key to the City where I’m from. I’m from Long Beach, California. I put Long Beach on the map. I’ve been repping Long Beach ever since I could remember and I don’t even have a key to that city, so for them to give me a Key to the City, it felt good.” All the while, Mo Pete said he knew about the surprise but had to keep his mouth shut. “We kept that under wraps,” he told Uncle Snoop. “I wanted to say something so bad.”

But the real surprise was for Mo Pete, who had no idea he would also be receiving his own Key to the City that he calls home. Morris has been extremely influential in organizing several water drives across Flint and distributing water to local residents.

Mayor Weaver proudly said, “That’s one of the highest honors that you can get from the City of Flint. I believe it’s well-deserved by both of them because they care about Flint and have been helping us keep this story out there.”


Mayor Karen Weaver gives Snoop Dogg a kiss after presenting him with a Key to the City post-game.


Morris hand-delivering bottles of water this past winter from one of the several water drives he and his foundation have organized.



One thing everyone has been curious to know is the connection between Snoop & Morris, so I had to ask. “This is a cause that Mo & I discussed back in February at another celebrity basketball game during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto.” Only a month prior to that, in January, Snoop was in Detroit for a show and made a special trip to Flint, MI to meet with Mayor Karen Weaver. What most people don’t know is that Snoop does a lot of what he does on his own dime. For him to go door to door in Flint, hand-delivering bottles of water to the people speaks volumes to his character. This is what it’s all about!

Snoop and Morris first developed their friendship during Morris’ 11 year NBA career and maintained their friendship through the years. Snoop made it clear from Day 1 that he wanted to continue to help the city in any capacity he could, and a few short months later, him & Morris put on a show-stopping game in Flint to help benefit the water crisis.  “I am Snoop Dogg, and how Snoop Dogg handles issues, I get right into the belly of the beast. This is deeper than sending money and sending bottles of water and bandaging the situation. We have to fix the deeper, underlying issue.” A man of his word, indeed.


Interviewing Snoop Dogg & Mo Pete


With Uncle Snoop & Mo Pete


It’s safe to say Coach Izzo could not have been more proud of his former player, Morris, and his commitment to give back to the City of Flint. When I asked Coach what his connection was to Flint, besides the obvious Flintstones helping win the 2000 National Championship, he replied, “Flint means the world to me. This is home. We are all in this together. The entire State of Michigan. All of us gotta help Flint just like all of us had to help Detroit. I owe a lot of my success to our guys from Flint, so if they’re suffering, we’re all suffering. Giving back to the community is more rewarding than anything, because that’s what it’s all about. To give back.” I asked Coach Izzo to stress to our youth the importance of voting, and he was not messing around. “It is crucial that our youth gets out there and votes. It makes more of a difference than you think. Your votes matter. Your voice matters.”


Coach Izzo, Mo Pete, & family



I’m sure by now, many of you are probably wondering what my connection is to Flint. For me, having graduated from Michigan State University, many of my close friends are from Detroit and Flint. I’ve been going to Detroit now for the past 14 years and it has become something like a second home to me, and Flint is literally a stone’s throw away from the D. Even though my friends and I may live in different cities spread across the US and the world, their families still live there. Quite naturally, to see such a tragic situation happening there, it’s exactly what Coach Izzo said, “If they’re suffering, we’re all suffering.”


One of my favorite moments from the event this past Saturday was that I personally got to hand-deliver some goodie bags (or DoGGy bags, in this case) to Snoop, sent from Detroit with love. Now, if you truly know me, you know that I love to give gifts. And no gift is better to give and to receive than one that requires thought and effort. Our friends over at The Dirt Label and at Detroit Vs Everybody came through with some goodies for Snoop & Mo Pete. The GET LIT tee was perfect for Snoop because, let’s be real, we all know how he gets down, and the Flint Vs Everybody shirts were the perfect touch. And can we talk about how it’s almost a week later and Snoop is still posting photos with his Detroit Vs Everybody bucket hat on? Classic.


Mo Pete, Snoop Dogg, Tonda Peterson-Bryant


When your uncle loves his gift… #DetroitVsEverybody



I am so grateful to Morris for bringing me on board and also to his sister, Tonda, the Executive Director of the Morris Peterson Jr. Foundation. This was such an amazing event for such a special cause, and I am truly humbled and honored to have been a part of something so great. During some post-game reflection, Mo & I’s conversation took a very spiritual turn and we both said the same thing – “This is what you are supposed to do. We are put on this earth to serve others and to have a servant’s heart.”  (Mark 10:45) In my eyes, people like Morris, Snoop, Tonda, and quite frankly, everyone that was involved with this event in any capacity, will always flourish in life because of their genuine want and need to put others before themselves.





I, along with 10.3 million other people, follow Snoop Dogg on Instagram. When I saw him post the flyer below, I just knew I had to be a part of this event. I immediately reached out to Mo like, “This is amazing! HOW can I be a part of this?! I know you’re letting me do all of the interviews, right?” His response was nothing short of epic. “As long as it’s for World Artist Refuge. You’re a Spartan Dawg. I got you!” And the rest… is history.



And the cherry to top it all off had to be when I saw this come across my Instagram….


I may have died a little.

(Certain photos courtesy of Lansing State Journal, Detroit Free Press, and MLive)

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