'N Sync Dribbles for Charity Celebs hoop it up for 'N Sync charity event

With the help of a few celeb friends who didn't mind demonstrating how poorly they play basketball, 'N Sync raised over $550,000 for charity Saturday at New York's St. John's University for their second annual fundraising game, Challenge for the Children II. Joining the 'N Syncers on two separate fifteen-person teams, the Daze and the Knights, were Queen Latifah, Pink and Jordan Knight, among others. Split up by a random drawing, Justin Timberlake and Chris Kirkpatrick played on blue-jerseyed Daze (who won 34-31), while Lance Bass, JC Chasez and Joey Fatone were relegated to the opposing team, the red-shirted Knights, the only team to boast an actual pro player (retired Detroit Piston star Isiah Thomas).

Not surprisingly, most of the players possessed nothing close to Thomas' skills. A number of the celeb hoopsters seemed to have trouble dribbling, particularly the female players (with the exception of Queen Latifah, who sunk one basket). "I can't even play pig. I can't play horse. I can't play anything," said Pink, who performed one song during halftime. "I'm good at fouling, though. It's all about defense today. I'm going to be the worst basketball player with the most heart."

The same could be said for Bass, who tied up the ball in the third quarter and was dragged across the floor. Joking that he just woke up shortly before the 7:30 p.m. game time, Bass blamed his lack of game on lack of sleep (the night before 'N Sync had finished a four-night stint at Madison Square Garden, where they hope to take the game next year). "I'm very, very not warm," Bass said pre-game. "I'm terrible anyway, so that'll give me an excuse."

The funds raised will be divided among five charities, including 'N Sync's Challenge for the Children Foundation, the Justin Timberlake Foundation, Nordoff-Robbins Foundation, Camp Good Days and Special Times, and the Arnold Palmer Hospital in the band's base of Orlando, Fla.

Meanwhile, R&B superstar Usher pulled out of the game since he had passed out in the studio while working on his third album last week. He was hospitalized Thursday, when he was diagnosed with dehydration and exhaustion and told to rest for two weeks.

(August 1, 2000)