Ping pong event attracts celebs, raises money

LOS ANGELES — For one night, Dodger Stadium played host to a competitive ping pong tournament, hosted by ace Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen.

The fifth annual “Ping Pong 4 Purpose” event was held on Thursday night to help raise money for Kershaw’s Challenge, a charity foundation that focuses on at-risk children across America, Africa and the Dominican Republic. The Los Angeles-based Dream Center and the CURE International hospital in the Dominican Republic were the two beneficiaries from Thursday’s event, Clayton said.

The charity teams up with organizations locally and abroad, in addition to connections in the Los Angeles and Dallas communities, Kershaw’s hometown. The charity has also helped to construct and support an orphanage in Zambia over the past three years.

“The support every year continues to get bigger and bigger,” Kershaw said. “Everything continues to grow, and the most important thing is we continue to raise more money.”

Late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel was the master of ceremonies and conducted a high-end auction. Hollywood celebrities like Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Justin Hartley and Casey Affleck were in attendance for the cause and played in the tournament. Dodgers minority owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson was presented with the Kershaw’s Challenge Impact Award.

“Clayton and Ellen are doing a wonderful job of blessing people who are less fortunate,” Johnson said. “They understand that. They’re doing it not just here in Los Angeles and Dallas, but the Dominican Republic, as well as Africa. It’s amazing because they’re not only writing the check, their time is invested, too.”

Several of Kershaw’s teammates participated in the tournament, including Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, Brandon McCarthy Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig and manager Dave Roberts.

“Everything that [Kershaw] is putting together, you just trust it,” McCarthy said. “He used to run an event in Dallas when I was living there, and you trust him on it. And here now with this, you know all the places that he sends money and what he’s doing with it and how big he wants this event to be.”

Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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