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NFL lockout helps pro hoops event in Nashville

The NFL lockout won’t be keeping the likes of Terrell Owens, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson, Cam Newton, and more off the Gentry Center basketball court in Friday night’s Celebrity Slam Jam at Tennessee State University.

The game is part of a charity event that was founded by TSU-alum and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

The Celebrity Slam Jam will make its first appearance in Nashville. The past two years it has been held in Rodgers-Cromartie’s hometown, Bradenton, Fla.

“I think it will be good for the community. It will be prime time for them to get out and interact with some of the big names in the NFL,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.

The game takes place just as the NFL is going through a lockout concerning ongoing collective bargaining and labor disputes.

“There’s better participation because of (the lockout),” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “A lot of us would be doing our off-season training.”

More than 20 current NFL players are participating in the Celebrity Slam Jam including Owens, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. T.O. is famous for his over-the-top celebrations—which sometimes includes dunking a basketball over the goalposts. Rodgers-Cromartie said it wasn’t too hard to get him on the roster.

But Cromartie said that he’s picking former teammate and Baltimore Raven Anquan Boldin to be the game’s MVP.

Tip-off is at 8 p.m. and prior to the game, there will be an autograph session starting at 5:45.

The Celebrity Slam Jam benefits the DRC Foundation which began in 2008 with a mission to provide underprivileged children the resources and tools needed to excel in education, develop strong life skills, practice positive athleticism and have good citizenship to pursue their dreams and become productive adults in the community.

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