The 2013-14 year marks the 16th touring season for the Harlem Ambassadors Professional Show Basketball team, which will be kicking off its season by visiting Tiffin for a performance along with a local celebrity basketball game at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The Kiwanis Club of Tiffin and Tiffin City Schools Athletic Boosters are to host the comedy basketball game with the Harlem Ambassadors. Money raised from the event is to stay in the local community.
The Ambassadors also are to be the grand marshals for the Heritage Parade.
Spectators can expect to see 50 high-flying slam dunks during a Harlem Ambassadors game at 7 p.m. Saturday at Columbian gym.
According to its website, the team was begun in October 1997 by Dale Moss. The first season, the Ambassadors played approximately 30 games. Today, there are two touring units that play in different parts of the country. Between the two, they performed 219 events and 115 "Stay in School, Stay off Drugs" youth programs during the 2010-11 season. The performers are selected not only for their basketball skills but for their positive lifestyles and ability to be "ambassadors" on and off the court.
The Ambassadors are to give their program at Calvert and Tiffin middle schools Friday.
"Kids may not always take what their parents say to heart, but they'll listen to athletes who have a message," Lade Majic, coach of the Harlem Ambassadors, said about the school programs on the website. "It's our way of reaching kids. Part of my life is devoted to keeping kids focused on making good choices in life."
The Ambassadors have played in all 50 states and 20 countries.
Dawn Iannantuono, Kiwanis Club of Tiffin event co-chairwoman, said this is a great fundraising event for the two entities.
"This will be a great fun, family event to attend during the Heritage Festival weekend," she said. "It is also a great community event because of all the different people playing on our Tiffin Twister team against the Harlem Ambassadors."
The Tiffin Twisters is comprised of community members such as Mayor Aaron Montz; Mark Verroco, Columbian principal; Ted Willman, Calvert boys basketball coach; Mike Herdlick, dean of students at Tiffin University; Matt Palm, athletic director at Heidelberg University; Rich Cline, city councilman; Becca Timm, Tiffin Police officer; Bill Eckelberry, Seneca County sheriff; and others.
After the game, everyone is to have the chance to meet the Ambassadors and get autographs from all of the players during an autograph session.
"Families will laugh together at the Harlem Ambassadors' hijinks and be amazed at their high-flying slam dunks," said Andria Simons, director of client and media relations of the Harlem Ambassadors. "Kids can look up to the Ambassadors as great role models who are college-educated and drug-free. Everyone can cheer for the local hometown heroes playing on the challenging team and feel good about supporting your local community by attending this event."
Tickets are $5 each. Call Dawn Iannantuono at (419) 448-7427, Subway at (419) 448-8900 and (419) 448-0300; or Columbian High School at (419) 447-6331.