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Day 1 – 10th Annual Michael Jordan Invitational: Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Maury Povich, Connie Chung, Spike Lee, Toby Keith

April 1, 2011 by  



Michael Jordan at Shadow Creek for MJCI
Hollywood heavyweights and sports legends gathered for a celebratory meal at Eva Longoria’s BESO Steakhouse in Crystals at CityCenter (Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage).

Toby Keith Signs Autographs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

Toby Keith Signs Autographs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

The dinner followed day one of the 10th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational spent at beautiful Shadow Creek, which welcomed the public for the first time ever.

John Smoltz golfs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

John Smoltz golfs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

The first day on the course was full of excitement as celebrity players began the tournament in high spirits. Actor Anthony Anderson joked that Michael Jordan would want to discuss golf with the media and players, but wouldn’t want to discuss dominoes, because Anderson beat him at the casual game at last year’s MJCI in the Bahamas. The man himself, Michael Jordan, clearly enjoyed himself as he pumped music from his golf cart and grooved to the music as he checked out his score.

Jerome Bettis golfs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

Jerome Bettis golfs at Shadow Creek for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

The competing celebrities had a few words for Jordan when asked about the day’s golf. Former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz joked, “No, it’s not Michael’s year. Sorry Mike. But, as defending champ I’m just going to have to represent. Maybe we can get in the final group together.” Country superstar Toby Keith said, “I chatted with [Michael] last night and I said, ‘How are you playing?’ and he said, ‘Terrible.’ So I don’t know; if he’s going to win, he must have a loaded team.”

Spike Lee and Tayna Lewis Lee at BESO for MJCI

Spike Lee and Tayna Lewis Lee at BESO for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

The big surprise of the day came when hockey star Chris Chelios eagled the 18th hole and celebrated with an impromptu cannonball into the lake bordering the green, as spectators went wild for the sports star. “Don’t tell Michael!” Chelios exclaimed to the crowd as he made his way back to land. The tournament weather could not have started with a more perfect day, as the sun shone on celebrities and spectators as they experienced Shadow Creek for the very first time. Hockey star Mike Piazza took a look around Shadow Creek and said, “The course is amazing. You don’t even feel like you’re in the desert, which is kind of cool out here.”

Chris Chelios and Wayne Gretzky at BESO for MJCI

Chris Chelios and Wayne Gretzky at BESO for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

In the meantime, over at CityCenter, crowds arrived early in the day to stake out the best spots to watch their favorite celebrities arrive to BESO. The crowd went wild and heads turned as Jordan arrived to the restaurant looking suave in a pastel green jacket and casual jeans, with gorgeous girlfriend Yvette Prieto on his arm. Jordan was relaxed and happy with his current score of 53 (19 under par), reminiscing with infamous journalist Robin Leach. Jordan said, “I’ve heard that voice before, I heard that voice growing up,” before shaking Leach’s hand and posing for a photo. The couple then made their way into BESO to enjoy a delicious meal with friends and supporters. Fans began cheering and reveled in the continuous arrivals of A-list MJCI attendees. The celebrity players arrived in high spirits after a successful day on the course where Brett Hull and Winky Wright led with scores of 52 (20 under par). Obviously happy after a beautiful day on the course, friends Kenny Lofton and Ken Griffey, Jr. joked around with photographers and posed for individual pictures because Griffey was quick to joke that two Kennys can’t pose together.

Brian Baumgartner, Connie Chung and Maury Povich at BESO for MJCI

Brian Baumgartner, Connie Chung and Maury Povich at BESO for MJCI

Photo credit: Chris Weeks/WireImage.

Stars continued making their way down the red carpet, including famed director Spike Lee, who stopped for photos in a casual salmon sweater and newsboy cap with signature turquoise shell glasses, beautiful wife Tanya Lewis Lee on his arm. Hockey stars Chelios who looked refreshed after his dip in the lake – and Wayne Gretzky posed together on the carpet, while actress Salli Richardson stopped crowds with her sequined mini and black lace top. Famed talk show host Maury Povich and wife Connie Chung were all smiles as they discussed Povich’s birdie on the course today.

Michael Jordan at BESO for MJCI

Michael Jordan at BESO for MJCI

Photo credit: Tom Donoghue.

Excited about the money being raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Nevada Cancer Institute, James R. Jordan Foundation and Cats Care, the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats’ charity arm, former NBA all-star Penny Hardaway shared, “It feel greats because when you’re giving back to the community, giving to a great cause, it makes you feel good.” Funnyman Brian Baumgartner revealed the Make-A-Wish Foundation was close to his heart when he said, “[It’s] a huge, huge foundation charity for us on [NBC’s] The Office. We’ve hosted a dozen kids or so over the years and it’s always a really, really special day for us. We tremendously enjoy it; and the fact that Michael does this, it’s fantastic.”

Inside BESO, the stars mingled and enjoyed the intimate ambiance in Eva Longoria’s sexy Latin steakhouse, sampling Eva’s Avocado Guacamole before sitting down for a meal of Chili Rubbed Skirt Steak and Pan Seared Pacific Northwest Salmon. Hockey stars Gretzky, Piazza and Brett Hull shared their table with Baumgartner and model Gabriel Aubry. The fabulous dinner was followed by the delectable Salted Caramel Brownie for dessert before the stars departed to rest for day two of the Celebrity-Amateur Tournament of MJCI at Shadow Creek.

Also in attendance at BESO were Marcus Allen, Hill Harper, Mario Lemieux, Larry David, Janet Jones-Gretzky, Alan Thicke, Brett Hull, Flex Alexander, Shanice, and Salli Richardson.

© 2011, VegasNews.com. All rights reserved. All content copyrighted or used with permission. All rights reserved. This content may not be distributed, modified, reproduced in whole or in part without prior permission from VegasNews.com.




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