David Andrews, CEO of City Enterprises, LLC was heard to say “It took a five iron and several auctioneers” to raise more than $100,000 for a good friend’s charitable fund that has been close to his heart for quite some time: Penny’s FastBreak Courts, an inner-city youth sports training program designed by one of the NBA’s greats, Anfernee Deon “Penny” Hardaway.
In hopes of providing area youths the opportunity to play in a better environment, the former University of Memphis and NBA star announced plans for a 100,000-square-foot facility with a championship court and six additional regulation courts.
GE's Paul Seger (right) gets one of his auction purchases signed by its former owner, Penny Hardaway. (PHOTO: Dealers Auto Auction)
"I grew up on a dirt basketball court, just trying to play the best way I could," Hardaway recalled. "Then I was with the Boys Club, which was really my savior, because it allowed me to go and play away from my neighborhood, to have the peace of mind to be able to do the things I wanted to do."
Andrews added, “With declining government funds and facilities for youth sports, we knew it would be a challenge for Penny to raise the funds while still trying to keep his program going in the interim. This was a cause our entire company could – and DID – get their hearts around.”
Dealer’s Auto Auctions kicked off their 2-day fundraising campaign with a silent, and not-so-silent auction of some of Hardaway’s NBA memorabilia. The Lexus of Memphis dealership hosted the event, and DAA Memphis General Manager Phillip Butler brought the hands up to bid top dollar on several items, culminating in a $6500 winning bid for a Schwinn WHIZZER motor bike.
The following day, the five-irons came into play at the Spring Creek Ranch Golf Course, where pros were matched with dealers for a fundraising tournament to benefit Penny’s vision.
Mark Hopkins, National Fleet Lease Manager for Dealers Auto Auction added, “We believe in Penny’s vision, and how important he felt it was to build a facility that can house these kids and help direct their life away from the gangs and dangerous influences found in many inner-city communities.”
The $20 million facility would house seven basketball courts, including a 2,000-seat arena, a rehabilitation clinic and classrooms for tutoring. The facility also would be used for volleyball, wrestling, cheerleading and other indoor sports. Hardaway saw it as a way to give back to the city.