L.A. Clippers star Blake Griffin continues his efforts to raise money in honor of his lifelong friend Wilson Holloway, who died earlier this year from Hodgkin's lymphoma.
During a visit to Oklahoma earlier this month, Griffin hosted a “Bowling Down Cancer for Charity Event” that raised at least $100,000 in honor of
“He's just one of those guys that always had a smile on his face,” Griffin said in an interview during the fundraiser at AMF Moore Lanes in Moore, where guests bowled, ate and bid on auction items for the cause.
Griffin said the big turnout at the fundraiser, which was sold out and attended by about 400 people, was a testament to Holloway and that he was glad to participate in an event and a cause that meant a lot to him.
“It's always good to be back and see friends and family,” he said.
Earlier this year, when Griffin won the NBA Slam Dunk contest by jumping over a 2011 Kia Optima in the middle of a dunk, he donated proceeds from the car's auction to Stand Up to Cancer in Holloway's name.
The money raised during the bowling event in Moore will go to Stand Up to Cancer for research and a memorial scholarship fund in Holloway's name. It was organized by one of Griffin's and Holloway's high school friends, Eric Johnson, who formed Champions Outreach Group, along with Justin Lane and Zach Hardaway, to do such events.
Combining Griffin's appeal with a nonprofit event to honor their friend “was just a no-brainer,” Johnson said. “All of this wouldn't have happened if Blake hadn't shown up.”
Holloway's dad, Willis Holloway Jr., said the scholarship fund previously awarded a
“We're pretty excited about what we can do. We want to keep Wilson's legacy alive,” Willis Holloway Jr. said. “We miss him dearly, but it's one of those things we can do to keep his spirit alive.”
His son, who was 22 when he died after a
The Oklahoman named him a first team All-City player in 2006, but he also excelled on the basketball court with Griffin: The OCS Saints were state champions in 2006 and 2007. Wilson Holloway also was a winner of the NCAA's 2008 Courage Award. Friends and family members said he never complained and always encouraged others.
At Bowling Down Cancer for Charity, Willis Holloway Jr. bowled with his wife and sons in the lane next to Griffin's parents, Gail and Tommy Griffin. He said he had known Tommy Griffin since he first came to Oklahoma City 36 years ago, and the boys were friends for years.
“Blake's an outstanding young man,” Willis Holloway said.
Gail Griffin returned the sentiment about Wilson Holloway.
“He was just the greatest, greatest kid. Sweetest heart,” she said. “He encouraged so many people.”