He shoots. He scores! And that’s just one of the guests playing a hoops game. Never mind 1,600 square feet of wall-to-wall gigantic TV screens showing action in the two men’s college basketball semifinals games. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to have a great time at Hoops & Hoopla, but if you are…wow, you’re in hoops heaven. This year’s event was another winner, raising nearly $145,000 National Jewish Health’s Morgridge Academy.

Fun at the roulette table

On Saturday, April, 1, nearly 400 guests (basketball fans and fans of fun) at Infinity Park Event Center were treated to the best watch party in town. The event began with snacks everywhere, passed hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and games ranging from hoops-shooting to air hockey to a for-fun-only casino area with poker and roulette. Meanwhile, the walls were covered with live nonstop TV basketball action, and the silent auction tables were full of enticing items up for bid. Spotted in the crowd were former Denver Nuggets stars Walter Davis, Ervin Johnson and Mark Randall. Occasions Catering provided a hearty dinner buffet just before the end of the first game.

(l to r): Former Denver Nuggets Walter Davis and Ervin Johnson, with Chauncey Billups Basketball Development’s Nick Graham

Event emcee and former Bronco Ryan Harris flashed his Super Bowl 50 ring for all to see (hard to miss!) while presiding over a short program between basketball games. National Jewish Health’s K-8 Morgridge Academy for chronically ill children, the event beneficiary, was spotlighted with an insightful video and a short talk by Jennifer McCullough, director of education. Team Greiner Electric members were recognized with the coveted MVP trophy after raising more than $60,000 in sponsorships, ticket sales and donations for the event. Craig Gallogly, a first-year solo coach of Team CED received the Rookie of the Year award and Kathy Hartzley, Team Jet Linx coach, was honored with the Heart of a Champion award for helping to make an impact among Morgridge Academy students.

Guests could buy mini-basketballs worth dollars and place them in a basket corresponding to select Denver classrooms, who received all donations in their basket. Brandon and Taylor Bergholz toss a few balls to make a donation.

Morgridge Academy is a unique day school program for approximately 90 students in grades K-8 who require medical assistance during the normal school day. The school is approved by the Colorado Department of Education and is located on the grounds of National Jewish Health in Denver. Children who attend the school have medical problems, which have caused frequent absences from regular school. The children at Morgridge Academy suffer from serious respiratory diseases, including asthma. Others have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, sickle cell anemia and heart problems. Because of their serious illnesses, these children require immediate access to medical attention. The majority of the children are from low-income and minority neighborhoods in Denver’s inner city.

For more information about Morgridge Academy, please visit: https://www.nationaljewish.org/education-training/morgridge-academy/overview.

To learn more about the programs and services at National Jewish Health, please go to: https://www.nationaljewish.org/help/events/hoops-hoopla/overview/.