Published November 20. 2023 12:23PM
by Jarrad Hedes email@example.com
Area hoops fans are gearing up for an evening of laughter, basketball, and community spirit as the Harlem Wizards prepare to dazzle the crowd at the Lehighton Elementary Center later this month.
Wizards players will compete against Lehighton faculty members at 7 p.m. Nov. 29. The game will raise money for the Lehighton Education & Athletic Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for educational and athletic programs in the school district.
In a special preview event Monday, Big J, a charismatic player known for his skills both on and off the court, fired up Lehighton middle and elementary school students during two promotional assemblies.
“We all love basketball and that’s a big a part of this, but it’s really about the entertainment, especially with the kids,” Big J, whose real name is John Smith, said. “I just think about how I can make people laugh.”
Smith hails from Queens, New York, and brings an impressive basketball resume to the team, having played overseas for six years, traveling to more than 40 countries. He began playing for the Wizards in April 2011, making this his 13th year with the team as a showman.
The Wizards, known for their entertaining style of play, offer more than just a basketball game, Smith said.
“It’s all about communities coming together,” he said of the game experience. “Everybody having a good time, forgetting whatever problems they have. Leaving that at the door and coming in for two hours and having a party. We just want to put on a good show.”
The event, hosted by the Lehighton Education & Athletic Foundation (LEAF), holds deeper significance. LEAF is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for educational and athletic programs in the Lehighton area school district. Big J emphasized the importance of supporting such organizations: “We want to help as many people as possible. It’s just something that we do, and we all love to do.”
Ticket prices range from $12 to $125, offering various options to suit different preferences. The Elementary Center and Middle School parent teacher organizations will participate in a ticket incentive program, receiving a portion of the proceeds for each online ticket sold attributed to their school.
Students and senior citizens can purchase tickets for $12 in advance, $17 at the door, while adults pay $15 in advance and $20 at the door. There’s also a Courtside Plus option for $50 (limited number), Reserved seats for $25 (online only), and a Courtside Player Package for $125 (limited to 10, includes a jersey.)
Tickets can be purchased online at www.harlemwizards.com.
Big J, whose real name is John Smith, dazzles Lehighton Area Middle School students Monday with ball handling skills during a promotional assembly for an upcoming Harlem Wizards game in the district. Wizards players will compete against Lehighton faculty members on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. The game will raise money for the Lehighton Education & Athletic Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for educational and athletic programs in the school district. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS