Originally created 07/11/97

Big names bail from Invitational



Good news, bad news, Augusta.

First, the good: Moses Malone will be at the Nike Peach Jam Invitational opening.

Now, the bad: Scottie Pippen and Anfernee Hardaway won't be.

Howard White, Nike's Director of Athlete Relations, said on Thursday that Pippen, a Chicago Bulls NBA All-Star, and Hardaway, an Orlando Magic NBA All-Star, will not attend Saturday's kickoff session of the second annual Nike Peach Jam Invitational at North Augusta's Riverview Park. Instead, Pippen and Hardaway will play in Mitch Richmond's All-Star Game in Sacramento, Calif.

"They are definitely not coming," said White, who is in Indianapolis this week at Nike's individual all-star camp for the best high school players in the country. "They were never scheduled to come."

Malone, former Atlanta Hawks center Moses Malone, who is an almost certain future Hall of Famer, headlines a list of five individuals that White said would be at Riverview Park on Saturday at 10 a.m., for his "Believe to Achieve" event.

Others scheduled to attend the event include Detroit Pistons forward Grant Long, Atlanta Glory American Basketball League player Neisha Johnson, former Wake Forest center and current Charlotte Hornets radio and television commentator Gil McGregor and Judy Holland, the vice president of community relations for the NBA's Washington Wizards and NHL's Washington Capitals.

There is no admission charge for this event and all Peach Jam functions. The tournament, which includes much of the top boys high school boys basketball talent in the country, begins on Monday and concludes next Thursday at Riverview Park.

The possibility that Pippen and Hardaway would attend began on Tuesday when De Pierce, the director of operations for the 100 Black Men of Augusta, Inc., and one of the local organizers of the Peach Jam event, told The Augusta Chronicle that the duo would attend.

"I would like to apologize to The Augusta Chronicle and the readers of The Augusta Chronicle," Pierce said. "This is my source and I'm not saying who they are. I was misled by my sources. I really and truly thought they were coming. At this point, that's my true feeling. Again, I apologize to The Augusta Chronicle and its readers."