On Wednesday night, TopSpin held their fifth annual TopSpin Ping-Pong Tournament and invited a bunch of former and current NBA players, including Deron Williams, Jerry Stackhouse, and Darryl Dawkins, to take part in it. The tournament is designed to raise funds for a select group of exceptional nonprofits serving the youth like A Better Chance, Change For Kids, Horizons, The Childrens Aid Society, and Wishbone Charity.
During the event, Complex was able to catch up with a few of the players who participated in the event in order to talk about how they got involved with TopSpin. We also asked them a bunch of questions about the current NBA season. Check out what they had to say below.
How did you connect with TopSpin?
Darryl Dawkins: Working with the NBA and being one of the ambassadors and loving to give back to all charities is a part of it. Thinking that athletes make so much, they should give back instead of take. I like it because all of the money goes back to education for the kids. A lot of charities don't have their money get to where it's supposed to go. This money does go back so that's how I got caught in it and that's how I'll stay in it.
Alan Anderson: It started out this summer. I lived out in Vegas working out and training. Chris Paul had his event out there and they asked NBA players that were in Vegas to attend. That led me to come and support here.
Shaun Livingston: I was brought here by a couple of my teammates. I heard it was raising money for education for kids. Anytime you can raise awareness or help out for the kids, honestly I’m down. I have my own foundation so I’m all for it.
Kenyon Martin: I just came out here to show my support. I’m decent but I’m not out here to play, just show my support.
How good are you at ping-pong?
Darryl Dawkins: I ain't all that good in it but I heard that there's a lot of talent here. I'm a talent scout so if I get beat, it's going to be by a girl and not by a guy. I'm vicious when it comes to playing against a guy but I'm a little more soft with it against the girls.
Jerry Stackhouse: I'm excited to play. I haven't practiced a lot but I think I'm in the top half of guys that can play.
Alan Anderson: I’m top three in the world [Laughs]. I got to get better, a little too sloppy. I’m alright.
Shaun Livingston: I’m alright. I’m a realist so I’m not going to front and say I’m the nicest ever.
How has the adjustment been since joining the Brooklyn Nets?
Alan Anderson: It’s been great. I’m around a bunch of great guys. We have great chemistry. It’s been fun so far.
Shaun Livingston: It’s been great. I feel really good and comfortable. I’m trying to make the most of this opportunity.
What do you think about Dwight Howard playing against his old team the Lakers this week?
Darryl Dawkins: I know Dwight Howard. I know his father's a minister. I think in Houston, with Harden, they're going to make some real noise this year. I think he got a little confused running around, chasing money. I think he'll be fine. I think this is going to be his year.
Jerry Stackhouse: I think it would’ve meant more if he had been there for awhile. it was like him playing against Orlando. He was in LA for one year so there’s not too much attachment. A lot went on in that one year, but it’s just another game.
What's it like playing your old team?
Darryl Dawkins: It got more fun getting a bigger check. I got traded from my old team the Sixers. It's always good to beat your old team because you get to go back and say, "See, I had just a little bit left in the tank for you." So it's always fun.
What was it like to sing the National Anthem in the Barclays Center for the first Nets playoff game?
Jerry Stackhouse: It was awesome getting to sing in a playoff game and to get the crowd excited in the first playoff game. I thought we were juiced up and it turned out great for us. The first time I did it I was nervous but I haven't gotten nervous since. But it's still tough. You want to make sure you remember the words. The worst thing you want to do is sing the national anthem in front of 25,000 people and forget the words.
We've seen you make a couple of athletic plays so far this season. How do you feel after recovering from the knee injury a few years back?
Shaun Livingston: I’m blessed. You ask a lot of people, I’m not even supposed to be here. Now for me to be here, I’m taking full of advantage of it. I believe in myself. First and foremost, I believe in God. I think my faith carried me through and now that I’m here, it’s time.
How does it feel making it to Brooklyn after playing overseas just a few years ago?
Alan Anderson: It’s been a blessing. it shows that hard work pays off. It’s been a tough road to get here, but it’s been a humbling experience.
What do you think about the Lakers so far this season?
Ron Harper: They’re giving some of the young kids a chance to grow up and giving them a chance to be a part of a good basketball organization. When Kobe Bryant does return, they will be a much better team.