The Harlem Ambassadors, the traveling basketball team that will play the Toad Suck Lions in a fundraising event on Feb. 22, seek to become positive role models for youth.
They promote staying in school, staying off drugs and racial harmony.
The game will be at 6 p.m. at the Hendrix Wellness and Athletic Center. Proceeds from the game will be used by the Conway Noon Lions Club to assist blind and visually-impaired citizens of Conway and Faulkner County who cannot afford eye care.
The Ambassadors will be playing the Toad Suck Lions, a team of local all-stars who will be coached by Arkansas basketball legends Don Dyer, Cliff Garrison, and Marvin Delph.
The Ambassadors’ show features killed ballhandling, high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy routines, and crowd interaction. Their show is designed to be fun for all and is professional in all respects.
Taken from the team’s website, here are profiles of some of the Ambassador players:
Ajay Rutledge, one of the team’s dunkers, stands 6-foot-3 and is from Rochester, New York. He has a degree in history and government from Daemen College. His athletic achievements include being named Newcomer of the Year, being selected to the all-conference first team, and being chosen as Team MVP, all in 2008-09.
In 2009-10, he was second-team all-conference. His academic achievements include being named to the dean’s list in 2007 and serving in the student government in 2008. He says "obstacles are meant to be hurdled. They will come into your life and you have to find a way to get over, through, or around them."
Matthew Sturdivant, another dunker, is 6- 5 and has a degree in Corporate Communications from Lindenwood University-Belleville, and is in his rookie year with the Ambassadors.
A native of Chicago, he was named a two-time All-American. His role model because "She struggled and worked hard so we could survive. She showed me the definition of a hard-working woman." He says that making it out of a neighborhood filled with gangs, drugs and unstable homes and graduating high school and college were the major obstacles and challenges that he has overcome. He shares that the best advice he has received was "Never lose your composure because you never know who is watching."
Sandra Prophete is better known as "Lade Majic." She directs the team as the lead show player. She is also the team’s head coach and vice president of basketball operations. She has played more show basketball games than any woman in history and has performed with the Ambassadors in all 50 states and in 20 foreign countries.
She starred collegiately at the University of Missouri, where she was a four-year starter. While playing for the Tigers, she earned Kodak All-American honors and was recently inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame.
She has coached on the high school, college, and professional levels and holds a Master’s degree in counseling from Upsala College and has worked extensively with at-risk youth through her No F.E.A.R. Foundation (No False Evidence Appearing Real).
Tickets for the game can be purchased in advance at all Faulkner County First Security Bank, Simmons First National Bank, and Summit Bank branches. Tickets are also available at Gary Cox, CPA (811 Parkway); the Log Cabin Democrat; and at the Faulkner County Library. Advance tickets for students are $1, Seniors (55 and over) are $3, and adult tickets are $5. Children 4 and under will be admitted free. Tickets will cost $1 more on game night.