By Doug Feinberg
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK _ Little League phenom Mo’ne Davis was so impressive on a basketball court she momentarily silenced trash-talking “Wedding Ringer” star Kevin Hart.
Playing in the All-Star Celebrity Game against opponents more than twice her age, the 13-year-old drove past Hart, the game’s MVP for the fourth time, with a spectacular spin move for an easy layup in the first quarter Friday night.
“That was pretty cool,” Davis said. “I work on it, but usually don’t do it. It was the right time to do it.”
Hart, who like Davis is from Philadelphia, said, “No excuses,” as he returned to the huddle shortly after her basket.
Madison Square Garden was abuzz with stars from the NBA, WNBA and Hollywood two nights before the NBA All-Star Game is played Sunday. But much of the attention was on the teenager, who got one of the loudest ovations from the crowd when she was introduced before the game.
Davis, a pitcher, shot to fame as the first girl to win a Little League World Series game. Only in eighth grade, Davis already plays basketball for the high school varsity team.
“It was a lot of fun, a lot of people never saw me play basketball,” she said. “To play in the celebrity All-Star game was pretty cool.”
The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year finished the All-Star Game with four points, helping the West team beat the East 59-51. Hart had 15 points.
“She was really impressive out there,” said WNBA star Skylar Diggins. “She definitely held her own.”
Davis was a little star struck, too. She made sure to take a photo with Diggins after the game before she left.
The West team was coached by ESPN personality Mike Golic and Spike Lee, who was wearing a blue hat with orange trim in honour of his beloved New York Knicks. Lee directed a commercial that starred Davis. Carmelo Anthony along with ESPN personality Mike Greenberg coached the East team.
The game also included actors Anthony Anderson, Common, Nick Cannon, Sarah Silverman, Ansel Elgort, Chadwick Boseman, Jesse Williams and Michael Rapaport, who grew up in New York City. Williams, who stars on Grey’s Anatomy, injured his knee with 5 minutes left in the game and was helped off the court and back to the locker room.
Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan also played as did singer Win Butler of Arcade Fire.
NBA Hall of Famer and New York native Chris Mullin played as did former New York Knicks’ star Allan Houston. Current WNBA players Diggins, Tina Charles and Shoni Schimmel represented the league. Schimmel, who was the MVP of the WNBA All-Star game this past year, tricked Silverman _ who was on the other team, to give her the ball under the basket which the Atlanta Dream star converted for a layup.
She led all scorers with 17 points.
“This was awesome,” Schimmel said. “Really had a great time playing here in this.”
Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera also played, showing off his basketball skills. A few years back he tried to challenge Michael Jordan to a 1-on-1 game for charity that never developed.
Pera and Diggins finished with 13 points each to lead the West.
This was the first time that the celebrity game was played at an NBA arena.
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