Hoopfest to benefit Kent-Meridian girls basketball team; Shawn Kemp to make appearance

Kentlake's Riley Butler, right, fights for a rebound with Kent-Meridian's Alex Witherspoon during a game last season. The Hoopfest Dec. 3-4 in Kent will benefit the Royals.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter file photo

Marvena Kemp says it's doubtful her husband Shawn Kemp will play in the inaugural Hoopfest at Kent-Meridian High School.

"He might but I doubt it," Kemp said about the former NBA player who lives in Maple Valley. "He's rehabbing from flag football. But he will come out to support it."

Teams can still sign up for the Dec. 3-4 event. Games will run from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Proceeds will benefit the Kent-Meridian girls basketball team to help pay for uniforms , travel to tournaments and other expenses.

There's a chance the tournament might attract a few Seattle-area NBA players who are looking for games since the league has shut down during a labor dispute between owners and players.

Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Isaiah Thomas are a few of the players Kemp hopes to persuade to compete in the event.

Teams can sign up for the 5-on-5 games in one of four divisions - Open, Men's 35 and Over, Women and Recreation. The entry fee is $225 per team with a three-game guarantee. The entry deadline is Nov. 28.

Players will get a chance to play in the new Kent-Meridian gym that just opened in September. The winning teams will receive trophies and T-shirts.

"It's great, I didn't even know it was here," Kemp said about her reaction when she first saw the new gym.

Admission for fans is $6 for adults and $3 for students. Fans who bring a can of food can get $1 off admission. The food will go to the Kent Food Bank. Drawings and door prizes also will be given away.

Marvena Kemp has helped run a variety of basketball tournaments, including the annual Reign Man Classic at Franklin High School in Seattle, a fundraiser for the Franklin girls team. Shawn Kemp received the Reign Man nickname when he played for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1989 to 1997.

A friend of Marvena Kemp's suggested that she start a tournament in Kent.

"I do a lot with the Franklin girls and I live in Maple Valley," Marvena Kemp said. "I've never done anything in Kent."

Kemp said she likes to help promote girls sports. She played basketball at Garfield High School in Seattle when she was known as Marvena Thomas. She graduated in 1986 from Garfield.

"It's good to get the girls programs in the public eye," said Kemp, who also plans to play in the tournament.

Kemp hopes to make Hoopfest an annual event at Kent-Meridian. She said 16 teams had signed up through Nov. 17 just from people she knows and before she even started to promote the event.

To register for Hoopfest, call Marvena Kemp at 206-683-4060 or Gary Miller at 253-353-0048.

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