Hundreds of Houston locals were in attendance for the 3rd Annual Celebrity Charity Basketball event for Houston Appreciation Week during Labor Day weekend.
Every year celebrities make an appearance and participate in the event to raise money for local charities headlined by Rapper Drake.
This year, a surprise appearance was made by Olympian champ, Simone Manuel, who became the first African-American woman to win an individual medal in a swimming event.
Manuel, who was not on the roster for the teams participating in this years’ event, did not stop the busy 20-year-old from taking time out of her busy schedule to show her home town some love.
The crowd was taken back, as some did not recognize Manuels’ face until the hype man gave her introduction to the crowd and the words “Gold Medalist” were uttered through the speakers.
The crowd went into frenzy as photogs, fans, and children surrounded Manuel.
Manuel looked overwhelmed as she addressed the crowd with her appreciation for Houston and the crowded seats that filled the H&PE Arena at Texas Southern University.
“I’m really excited to be here and appreciate all the love and support Houston has shown me, thank you.”
Manuel, who was all “H-Town” themed out in her “Ivy Park” gear, a clothing line by Houston’s own, Beyonce’, showed off some of her “on court” skills by shooting a three point score kicking off the event.
Manuel also talked about the feeling she gets when inspiring young women and girls around the world. “That’s the highlight for me, when young girls can look up to me and see a little bit of me in them,” she said.
The Houston Appreciation Week Basketball Charity event features two charity basketball teams. Team “OVO” representing for Drake and Team “Rap-A-Lot” for Rap-A-Lot C.E.O. James Prince come together to raise money for local charities in Houston.
For more information, check out www.HoustonCelebrityBasketball.com.