Retired NBA superstar turned TNT sports commentator Chris Webber hosted his third annual 'Bada Bling' celebrity weekend at Planet Hollywood in
The 'Bada Bling' weekend festivities benefit the Chris Webber Foundation, the hoop star's nonprofit organization that works to create positive recreational and educational opportunities for youth.
"I am so excited to be returning to
The weekend kicked off with a celebrity poker tournament where C-Webb, as he is affectionately known, and his celebrity pals gambled at high stakes for the charity.
"Its for the kids," Webber emphasized all weekend.
Rapper Too $hort performed at the welcome party at Privé later that night, while DJ D-Nice kept the crowd moving with his unmatchable mix of music.
Both a celebrity golf challenge and a poolside party featuring music by DJ D-Nice took place on Saturday.
Photographer Johnny Nunez was dripping wet by the time he finished getting his shots at the pool party. As my good friend, TV talent and producer Monica Moore looked on, the celebrity photographer lost his balance and fell into the pool at Planet Hollywood attempting to capture shots of stars like Tichina Arnold ('Everybody Hates Chris'), Wendy Racquel Robinson ('The Game') and Claudia Jordan ('Deal or No Deal) as they lounged.
Later that night was the formal gala and auction, which took place in the immaculately decorated Planet Hollywood grand ballroom.
Comedian Mark Curry emceed the affair, which included a four course meal with continuous wine service, in addition to overseeing the auction with the help of comic Finesse Mitchell ('Saturday Night Live').
A hypnotist named Tom Silver performed his magic of the mind on ten volunteer audience members, who hilariously did everything from impersonate Aretha Franklin to embody Usher and Ludacris while under the hypnotic spells of Silver.
There were also performances by Raphael Saadiq and Gladys Knight.
Saadiq performed last year and wrecked the place! This year, the former Tony! Toni! Toné! lead singer introduced new tracks from his forthcoming CD, the 1960's inspired 'The Way I See It,' in addition to hits like 'Anniversary,' 'It Never Rains (In Southern California)' and 'Just Me and You.'
R&B icon Knight followed and had the place going crazy as she strolled down memory lane with her timeless catalog of hits.
The 64-year-old, seven-time Grammy winner performed effortlessly, seamlessly weaving together song after song and hits like 'Love Overboard,' 'Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,' her moving 'End of the Road' medley and 'I've Got To Use My Imagination.'
Even I got in on the action when Knight performed her hit, 'Midnight Train To Georgia,' joining Knight's brother Merald "Bubba" Knight of The Pips and celebrities like Kedar Whittle ('Hell Date'), Clifton Davis ('Amen'), TNT commentator Kenny Smith and others to perform that classic routine. (Its just something about when Knight starts that song with, "L.A!" Those two letters just do something to me!)
Webber raised thousands of dollars with his impressive auction items. Guests bid on everything from a performance outfit worn by the late James Brown (and presented by his daughter Yamma Brown); dinner for 12 prepared by chef Nikki Shaw ('Next Food Network Star' and wife of Los Angeles Lakers coach Brian Shaw); a chance to sing the 'National Anthem' at a Sacramento Kings game; a walk-on appearance and interview on TNT with Kenny Smith; and other fabulous things.
A private post-party was held after the gala at Koi and DJ D-Nice again impressed the crowd with his mix of hip-hop and old school music. (Though he may not have the notoriety of some of his peers, I have to say that DJ D-Nice is probably the best party-starter in the business right now!)
Among the additional Hollywood stars, recording artists, sports figures and notable personalities on hand for the 'Bada Bling' weekend included Idris Elba ('Daddy's Little Girls'), Lil Mo, Baron Davis (Los Angeles Clippers), Kenya Moore, Ricky Davis (Miami Heat), Keith Robinson ('Dreamgirls'), Jill Marie Jones ('Girlfriends'), Juwan Howard (Dallas Mavericks), Terry Crews ('Everybody Hates Chris'), retired hoops star Mateen Cleaves, Elise Neal ('Hustle & Flow'), Richard "RIP" Hamilton (Detroit Pistons), April Woodard ('Inside Edition'), Laz Alonso ('This Christmas'), NBA great Moses Malone, Matt Barnes (Phoenix Suns), Doug and Norma Christie ('The Christies'), retired WNBA player Ruthie Bolton, Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers), comic Joe Torry, Scott Pollard (Boston Celtics), retired NBA star Mark Jackson and wife, singer Desiree Coleman-Jackson, retired NBA player Dale Davis, actress Porsha Coleman, actress Alexis Fields Jackson ('Sister, Sister'), Clifton Powell ('The Gospel'), boxing trainer Roger Mayweather, Tayshaun Prince (Detroit Pistons), comic George Wallace, Damon Stoudamire (San Antonio Spurs), retired NBA star Antonio Davis, Antoine Walker (Memphis Grizzlies) and retired NFL player AB Whitfield.
I have to say that Webber's 'Bada Bling' weekend is one of the most organized celebrity weekends with a team of knowledgeable, efficient and friendly volunteers.
Special thanks to Tiaka Hurst of Full Bloom Marketing and the entire 'Bada Bling' staff for a grand time.
For more details on the Chris Webber Foundation visit www.ChrisWebber.com.
PHOTOS: Check out these red carpet photos from the 'Bada Bling' gala.