Celebs sign up for McGee Classic

The Cayman Islands are used to visiting celebrities, but rarely do a handful head to these shores for a local sporting event.

Actors Dennis Quaid, Dennis “The Allstate Guy” Haysbert and Terry Quinn are among the many Hollywood actors expected to headline the McGee Cayman Classic from Sept. 16 to 21.

The spectacle will encompass a celebrity golf event at North Sound Golf Club and a celebrity all-star basketball game, a youth basketball camp, and concerts featuring primarily country music stars, such as Ira Dean, at Camana Bay.

Former European pro basketball player Cory McGee, who is based in London and is organizing the event, said several major names should be here.

“I’ve been to Cayman eight or nine times, I absolutely love it here and I want to leave a legacy here,” Mr. McGee said. “Unless Dennis Quaid gets a $35 million movie between now and September, he will be here. In theory, they have all agreed to come. We tried our best to build the celeb list like how it is to get that ‘Wow’ factor.

“Ninety percent of those celebs have never been here before. I want them to go to Prospect and Windsor Park, get away from compounds like the Ritz-Carlton and get a flair for Cayman. We’re trying to keep it 100 percent Cayman.”

The list of stars scheduled to be in Cayman is impressive. From the sports world, there are basketball luminaries such as Clyde “The Glide” Drexler and Chris Mullin, former baseball players Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield, past hockey greats Brett Hull and Grant Fuhr and world champion boxer Winky Wright, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and Manchester United icon Andy Cole. From Tinsel Town, among the big names set to come to Cayman are Anthony Anderson (“All About the Andersons”), Alfonso Ribeiro (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) and Christopher McDonald (“Happy Gilmore”).

Mr. McGee, 42, is originally from Tampa, Florida, and started his European basketball career in 1996 playing for the Derby Storm in England. He had four other U.K. stints in Chester, Worthing, Taunton and Manchester, in addition to others in Israel, Holland, Spain, Ireland and Finland. His last stop was in Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean, in 2005. From there, he worked with numerous British basketball teams and set up more than 20 youth academies. Mr. McGee says it was during his playing days that he met many celebrities.

“My U.K. business partner has organized the Michael Jordan Golf Classic and music tours, so I have a big reach, I know a lot of people,” he said. “It is a bit of both meeting them in my playing career, with my career having lasted as long as it has, and after, as living in London is such a big melting pot. I try to reach out and show those people something new and different. The Cayman Islands is a perfect example of that, so it becomes more than just business.”

Over the years, local basketball has benefited from Mr. McGee’s presence. He first came here in 2011 on a basketball trip organized by local supporter Katina Anglin and has liaised with Cayman Islands Basketball Association officials Victor “Voot” O’Garro and Daniel Augustine to work with a variety of players, national teams and youth programs. It is through those efforts that he came across Ezra McLaughlin, a former youth player who committed suicide at the age of 15 last March.

Mr. McGee points to McLaughlin as a victim of bullying and says the September spectacle is about honoring the young man while highlighting an anti-bullying message.

“These celebs are not random, that’s not how I roll. I’ve met them at some stage of my life and I tried to reach out to people who had experiences with bullying in the past. I hope the McGee Cayman Classic helps spread the word about how being bullied affects the lives around us and how to speak to someone when situations occur,” he said.

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1 COMMENT

  1. You know the Cayman Government has to be a little squeamish about celebrities coming to visit. I believe early last year the Cayman Government went from festive exuberance to Horror when Sir Paul McCartney came to visit…Anyone with half a brain would have never taken that man to the turtle farm

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