The Dodgers may be the hottest team in Major League Baseball right now, but on Thursday night fans flocked to their stadium for a star-studded ping-pong tournament at the fifth annual Clayton and Ellen Kershaw’s Ping Pong 4 Purpose benefit.
The Dodgers pitching ace spoke out about what hosting this event every year means to him and his family. “It’s everything. I think we realize that baseball is such a gift and such an amazing platform that we have and to see the support from all the people on our team from the Dodgers to all of the celebrities that come out — it’s overwhelming, it’s awesome,” said Kershaw.
Jason Bateman, Justin Theroux, Jimmy Kimmel and Kareem Abdul Jabbar were a few of the A-listers who turned out for an evening of ping-pong alongside Kershaw’s Dodger teammates Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson was honored with the Kershaw’s Challenge Impact Award, and emcee Kimmel quipped “Finally, Magic gets a trophy!” to the five-time NBA champion.
“What a blessing it is to be honored by two angels that God put on this earth,” Johnson told the crowd, referring to Clayton and his wife, Ellen. He drew the evening’s loudest cheers when he ended his speech with: “Last but not least, the Dodgers are going to win the World Series!”
Between ping-pong matches, guests enjoyed food provided by Pink Taco, Papa John’s Pizza and Sugarfina, and of course, plenty of Dodger Dogs.
Danny Trejo also showed up to compete, and he shared that the last time he picked up a ping-pong paddle wasn’t in quite as glamorous a setting. “I haven’t played ping-pong since juvenile hall. They got a ping-pong table in the day room, and if you’re good you can play,” he said, laughing.
Guests also bid on autographed sports memorabilia from Los Angeles sports legends like Kershaw, Kobe Bryant and Vin Scully. The highest-priced item, a vintage photograph signed by Cy Young and every Dodger pitcher who ever won the Cy Young Award, went for $22,000.
The event helped raise money for the Dream Center, which helps disadvantaged families in Los Angeles, and Cure International Hospital in the Dominican Republic, which provides medical services for children with physical disabilities.