A Special Dimension to 'Being a Good Sport'

Pamela Marin is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

At cocktail hour, you couldn't tell the press from the guests.

Up and down a hallway in the Newport Beach Marriott, cameras clicked and flashed, questions flew, pen-and-paper wielders shouldered along distractedly.

At the center of the frenzy was L.A. Lakers star Byron Scott, whose annual "Challenge for Children" fund-raising weekend culminated Saturday with a black-tie dinner and auction. The event drew 500 guests at $100 each and provided the autograph-and-photo hounds among them access to a smorgasbord of celebrity.

Gracing the hotel hallway before dinner were basketball biggies Mark Eaton and Darrell Griffith of the Utah Jazz, who along with a couple of dozen other pros played in Scott's benefit game Friday night at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center.

Nearby, middleweight boxing champion Michael Nunn, who coached the winning team on Friday, kidded his manager (and losing coach) Daniel Goossen.

"That's right, we won!" chanted Nunn, whose broad smile and handsome, unmarked features look more like those of a model than a fighter. When Goossen scowled, Nunn grew even more animated.

"You know how it is when they lose," he said. " 'My stomach hurts! My feet hurt! It wasn't fair!' " Delivered with a laugh by a man whose line of work leaves no room for excuses.

Mingling outside the silent auction room was forever-suave Richard Roundtree (a.k.a. "Shaft"), who participated in a celebrity tennis tournament earlier in the day, also a part of the fund-raising drive.

"I have three children, and I love kids," said Roundtree, who attended the dinner with his wife, Karen. "Anything for kids I'm totally in support of. Plus, I'm a big Lakers fan."

Actor Andrew Stevens made a Hollywood-style entrance with a blonde on one arm and a brunette on the other. Stevens played in the celebrity golf tournament held at the Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club.

Television's Alan Thicke brought date Kristy Swanson but declined to be photographed with her because of what he called "dating paranoia."

"If you take that picture, then the rumors get started and the tabloids grab it and go crazy. . . . " Et cetera, et cetera: The world of fame, according to Thicke.

The weekend-long benefit raised $80,000, which will be divided among Childrens Hospital of Orange County; South County Community Clinic in San Juan Capistrano; Samaritan Medical Center in San Clemente, and the Byron Scott Children's Fund Ltd.

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