McGee Classic gets called off

Logistical problems led to the cancellation of an upcoming sports spectacle. 

Organizers of the McGee Cayman Classic, an anti-bullying initiative scheduled for Sept. 13 to 20, have announced that the event has been canceled. Cory McGee, the visionary behind the event and its namesake, said that the U.K. promoter who was leading the organization of the event fell behind on the logistics and the funding. With the event less than a month away, McGee did not feel that the project could be properly staged, and made the difficult decision to cancel. 

“It is with a heavy heart that I make this announcement,” McGee said. “My focus is and always has been the anti-bullying message and ensuring that what happened to Ezra [McLaughlin] doesn’t happen to any more of Cayman’s young people. All of the activities that were scheduled to happen during the McGee Cayman Classic – the basketball camps, the golf tournament, the celebrities, the concerts, etc. – were all just tools that we were going to use to bring attention to the problem of bullying.  

“However, all is not lost. We may not be using the same methods but my vision remains the same. Bullying is a real problem and I plan to continue my mission to raise awareness of the issue and help empower our youth to respect themselves, each other and authority as long as the Cayman community will allow me. I remain motivated by Ezra and inspired by the many young Caymanians that I meet every day, and I look forward to continuing my work with them through the sport of basketball.”  

The catalyst for the event was the suicide of Ezra McLaughlin in March 2013. McLaughlin was a 15-year-old Caymanian student who was a promising young basketball player and had been coached by McGee after the Florida native began working with the Cayman basketball community in 2011. McLaughlin was a victim of bullying. 

The event was slated to incorporate a three-day basketball camp, legends basketball game, a youth rally, golf events and a concert with several notable artists. Among the celebrities who were expected to be in Cayman were basketball legends Clyde “The Glide” Drexler, Glen Rice and Nick Anderson, recording artists Michael Bolton, Ira Dean and Hootie and The Blow Fish and Hollywood stars Dennis Quaid, Alfonso Ribeiro and Dennis Haysbert. Several celebrities have been in contact with the organizers to express their disappointment with the event not coming to fruition. 

A number of local entities were supposed to receive proceeds from the spectacle. Among them were the Cayman Islands Basketball Association, Young Men’s Christian Association of the Cayman Islands and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cayman Islands. 

Kelly Holding Ltd. was assisting McGee with the marketing and communications for the event. CEO Rhonda Kelly said the goal will continue. 

“We are extremely disappointed with this news, we truly believe in the cause and through working on this event have learned so much more about it and the need for programs like this in our schools and for our youth,” Kelly said. “It is our hope that although this big celebrity-filled event is not happening, that the attention it drew to anti-bullying will not go by the wayside but it will become the catalyst for the establishment of anti-bullying programs and positive change in our young people.” 


Youth basketball development was going to be a central theme for the spectacle. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES


Cory McGee wants to end bullying.


Ezra McLaughlin committed suicide last year.

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