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Harlem Legends right a "wrong" in Grainger Co.

12:32 AM, Dec 1, 2012   |    comments
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This weekend, the Grainger County Sheriff's Department says it hopes to make a wrong into a right.

On Friday, Grainger High School students got a preview of what their community will see Saturday: a fundraising basketball game starring a team of elite athletes with the kind of ball-handling skills few ever master.

They are the Harlem Legends. The non-for-profit team prides itself on helping those who can't help themselves. The Grainger County Sheriff's Department says in this case, they're helping underprivileged boys and girls right here in East Tennessee.

They're set to play Saturday to raise money for the county's Shop with a Cop program.

"Our children can't help what lifestyle they live or what their parents may be in to, so as a person we want to see that every child does have something for Christmas and knows the true meaning of Christmas," said SRO Tim Wyckoff.

The Harlem Legends are here after they heard a man, Eugene Raines, falsely told Grainger officials he was a Harlem Globetrotter. Raines spoke in several schools and even charged the county a $2,500 appearance fee.

After 10News questioned Raines, he admitted to us he actually never played for the Globetrotters.

So now Larry "Gator" Rivers, along with other real Harlem Globetrotter Legends will play a benefit game to raise money for Grainger County's Shop with a Cop program, a game Raines promised but couldn't deliver.

Rivers says he wants to make that wrong into a right by giving the county a game featuring his team.

"We had a bad situation here, so we came here to make lemonade out of lemons. We took a sour situation and we're going to make it sweet," he said.

And the sheriff's department hopes that sweetness, along with a large community turnout for Saturday's benefit game, will translate into Christmastime compassion for children in need.

Saturday's game is set for Grainger High School at 7 o'clock. Tickets for ages 13 and up are $10. Ages 6-12 are $7. Children 5 and under will get in for free. All money raised will benefit Shop with a Cop.

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