By Joseph Staszewski
For Jim Malone, it is a bittersweet reminder.
The Beach Channel boys’ basketball coach and more than 1,500 people packed the Adelphi University Center for Recreation & Sports for the second annual Malone Mulhall Benefit Game July 28. The day brings back memories of July 15, 2010, when Malone’s daughters, 22-year-old Jamie and 19-year-old Paige, and their friend, 22-year-old Michael Mulhall, were killed in a car accident.
“It’s very hard,” said Malone, who sat courtside along with his family and the Mulhalls. “I see all the faces of their friends. It reminds you. You see all the kids and boyfriends and girlfriends. It makes it hard.”
Joe Lynch, one of those close friends who dated Paige, is the driving force behind the basketball event that saw Hall of Famer Chris Mullin’s red team beat NBA play-by-play man Mike Breen’s blue squad 116-104.
Lynch said the game sold out quickly and they had to hand out makeshift tickets after the first 1,300. He believed they raised close to $100,000 combined over the two years for the foundations and scholarships the families set up.
“It’s great that everyone is coming together in Jamie, Paige and Michael’s name,” Lynch said. “They may not be here with us anymore, but you can still find ways for people to come together through Jamie, Michael and Paige.”
The three were killed on the Meadowbrook Parkway heading to volunteer at Camp ANCHOR, a camp for the mentally and physically handicapped. A number of its members came out at halftime to perform a dance routine to The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” that earned them a standing ovation from the crowd.
“They were too nice,” former Beach Channel hoops standout Arthur Robertson said of the Malone sisters. “They were very caring, very giving. They used to tutor me in high school for the SAT’s. They will always be a part of me and I will always think about them.”
The growing charity game is still something special for Jim Malone, as a great environment to see some of the area’s best players. The contest featured San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green, former Iona point guard Scott Machado and former St. John’s standouts Paris Horne and Justin Burrell, among many others.
Former Providence star Jeff Xavier and Danny Green tied for the three-point contest title. Team Nike member Vern Goodridge, who had a summer league tryout with the Bucks, edged Horne, who played on the Charlotte Bobcats NBA Summer League team, for the dunk contest crown. All the players, along with Mullin, signed autographs and took pictures for more than 25 minutes after the game.
“It’s a wonderful place to watch very talented players,” Malone said. “It’s all for fun. It’s all great.”
All of it is in memory of people who spent their lives giving back to others.
“It’s just a tragic situation,” said Mullin, the former Xaverian High School and St. John’s University star. “Those kids were so admirable the way they lived their lives. They volunteered, taking care of other people. It can happen to any of us.”