Published on March 14, 2021 at 7:21pm
Story by Mary Martin. Photos by Kirsten Chilstrom.
De’Vante Harris, former Texas A&M and NFL cornerback, hosted the Community Celebrity Basketball Game to benefit Boys & Girls Club of Dallas, along with his new foundation, Harris’ House of Hope. De’Vante captained one team, and recruited friend and actor, Slink Johnson, to captain the other, both teams filled with athletes from across the NFL and college sports.
The weekend game at South Oak Cliff High School brought De’Vante back to his roots, shining a light on what the next generation needs from athletes who have found success. “It’s important to me because I grew up belonging to a lot of community groups such as the Boys and Girls Club and I wanted our younger youth today to have some of the same opportunities I had, and even better,” says De’Vante. “A lot of kids won’t get the same opportunity I had to play sports, so wherever I can be of encouragement to them, I will. I had so much support growing up, so I’m only doing what’s right in my heart and paying it forward.”
With former NFL player, Rod Harris, and quarterback skills coach, Craig LeBlanc stepping in as referees, Team Harris and Team Slink played for some serious fun and bragging rights, but in the end Team Harris took home the win with a final score of 67-73. Participating were Orion Stewart, Ryan Smith, and Sean Murphy-Bunting, all from the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, along with Baltimore Raven, Dez Bryant, and New York Jet, Arthur Maulet.
Slink, who currently stars in comedy sitcom Black Jesus and also voiced a role in the video game Grand Theft Auto V, was drawn to the event as a way to set an example for local students. “We need some positivity for our young kids today and I wanted to be involved with a project that catered to our youth and I love what De’Vante is doing in his community, so I immediately jumped on board,” Slink says. “I have a big following with kids, with me being in the gaming world, so whatever I can do to help out, I’m doing it.”
De’Vante Harris who retired recently from the NFL now owns Harris’ House of Heroes, a family-run restaurant in with locations in Uptown and just south of downtown on Riverfront Blvd. But Harris’ House of Hope is the reminder of what truly matters in his hometown. The celebrity basketball game is the latest in a string of recent charity events, including a Family Food Giveaway for more than 100 families during the recent winter storm in Dallas.