RENO — The Cops vs. Robbers basketball game has always been played to transform lives, so it is fitting that today’s final installment of the charity series is “Transformers.”
The two teams will take to the court at 3 p.m. the Northeast Community Center donning the colors of the Autobots and Decepticons – the good and bad guys from the toys and movies – in their 12th exhibition game. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Evelyn Mount’s holiday food drive.
“Every kid that comes in there will get a big bag of Halloween candy and school supplies like pencils and erasers and stuff like that for free,” said Marcus Woods, the event’s organizer.
The game’s original concept was to pit law enforcement against former lawbreakers in a game of hoops. There are still players from those two groups, but this time the game also will include some new faces: a women’s club from the University of Nevada, Reno will participate, making this the first co-ed game.
Past beneficiaries of the event have included the homeless and cancer patients. This time, proceeds from ticket, raffle and snack sales will help the hungry in the community.
“You see these people and it’s like they just got a million dollars, even though it’s just a few hundred,” said Gamar Benton, a 21-year-old from San Francisco who has participated in almost all of the Cops vs. Robbers games. “They cherish it like it’s everything.”
“I respect what Marcus is doing right now because we need somebody in the community that can bring the kids out,” said 24-year-old Kosar “KO” O’Neil, who returned from his new home in Cleveland to play in his second charity game for Woods. “It’s so tough right now. Marcus is pretty much creating another way to give people something to smile about.”
The Northeast Community Center is located at 1301 Valley Road in Reno. Tickets to the game cost $10 or $5 with five cans of food.