Fresh off sweeping a two-game road trip, Los Angeles Lakers teammates Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels were on hand at Eddy D. Field Baseball Stadium for the 2020 California Strong Celebrity Softball Game.
So too were former Lakers Matt Barnes and Robert Horry, along with Los Angeles Dodgers All-Stars Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, among other professional athletes and celebrities. They all made the trip to Pepperdine University in support of California Strong.
It’s the brainchild of Milwaukee Brewers teammates Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun, Cincinnati Reds infielder Mike Moustakas and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. They were on a group text in 2018 when wildfires set Southern California ablaze.
Their homes were spared, but the group nonetheless was determined to assist those who weren’t as fortunate. The nonprofit organization has raised over $3 million to give back to Californians impacted by wildfires and the mass shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks.
“The community has given so much to the athlete,” Horry told LakersNation.com of the importance for professional athletes to use their platform.
“The community is the one that buys the jerseys, the community is the reason the TV contracts are what they are and the reason the athletes can get paid what they get paid. So if you forget them, they should forget you. You can’t do that.”
Horry had a highlight-worthy catch in center field when he caught a fly ball that deflected off his teammate’s glove. The play supported Horry’s confidence that baseball skills from his childhood days were still present.
Cook and Daniels mingled with fellow participants and signed autographs throughout the day. “I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Cook said of attending. “It’s a great cause they’ve got going on. To have this kind of turnout is amazing.”
When asked which player from the current Lakers roster they would pick to hit a home run, Horry and Cook both unsurprisingly named LeBron James. However, Cook added a second selection in Dwight Howard.
This year’s event didn’t come under the same cloud of disaster just having struck, but those who have been impacted in the past were hardly forgotten. Checks were presented to two families that experienced loss in wildfires, and the owner of Borderline Bar and Grill.