Former Fresno State cornerback and professional football player Isaiah Green hosted the Fresno Charity Celebrity Basketball Game on Saturday, bring the local community together - while serving as a reunion for many former Bulldog football players in the process.

Of the event, Green explained, “It’s all about the community, first and foremost. We had a vision that we wanted to unite our community together through sports. We have a lot of guys who went to Fresno State, played in the NFL, some great community leaders… They all wanted to come together as one and unite the community through sports. That’s all it’s about - community, unity and sports."

Former Bulldogs in the game included receivers Josh Harper, Isaiah Burse, Aaron Peck and Rashad Evans, tight end Stephen Spach, defensive end Chris Carter, defensive backs Charles Washington, Phillip Thomas and Vincent Mays, and basketball forward Alex Blair. Former receiver Bernard Berrian and offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins were the coaches for the two teams. Other Bulldogs on hand serving as volunteers or watching from the crowd included, but were not limited to, Moses Harris, Michael Butler, Nico Herron, Cornell Banks, Kevin Jordan, L.J. Jones, Kevin Goessling and Terrance Dennis.

The rosters also included local celebrities, professional dunkers and NBA veteran Metta World Peace.

“Some of these guys aren’t even playing, they just drove up to support and volunteer,” Green said. “That’s meant the world to me. Those guys that are playing, they aren’t getting paid. They wanted to do this for their community and give back.”

The charity game went down to the wire, and two former Bulldogs ended up making the biggest shots of the day. Former wide receiver Isaiah Burse sank a 3-pointer while getting fouled with just two seconds left to break a tie. Fellow former wide receiver Josh Harper answered with a 3-pointer of his own.

“Even though it was a charity game, it was all fun,” Harper said. “I wasn’t even in the game, then they called a play for me. I thought, ‘I hadn’t even hit a shot all game. Then I came in and I was ice water… When (Green) reached out to me, I didn’t even think twice. I wanted to come out and support him. Isaiah Green is a real good dude and he’s doing it for a good cause in our community."

Burse, who played high school basketball, said of his teammates, “A lot of them I hadn’t seen hoop before. Seeing them lace up the shoes and come out here and shoot the basketball for the first time was good. It was funny, I had some good laughs. Rashad Evans cracks me up. But it was good, the event was successful and I bet it’ll be even bigger next year.”

Former cornerback L.J. Jones and safety Terrance Dennis drove up from Los Angeles just to volunteer for the event.

Jones said, “I’ve never been a part of something like this. It was pretty fun. All of them came out and supported the event. Everyone had fun.”

Of what he missed most about being a Bulldog, he added, “The camaraderie. Being here around my past players and reminiscing, that was fun. I’ve been missing everybody and it was good to catch up … I miss everybody coming together and realizing there’s a goal at hand.”

Dennis echoed those statements. “It was great. We usually keep in contact through social media, but seeing guys like Chris Carter, Charles Washington, Kenny Wiggins - it was great linking up with everyone. We’ve kind of moved on and everybody grows up a little bit.

Those sentiments were shared by many of the former Bulldogs on site. Harper, after serving as a recruiting director on the Fresno State staff last year, will join the Oakland Raiders as an understudy on the coaching staff. Dennis has been accepted to law school and is opening a residential treatment facility - Jones is applying for law school as well.

Dennis said, “I want to show everybody that Fresno State doesn’t only make great players, but great people in the community as well.”

On the football field, Chris Carter just completed his seventh season in the NFL, playing for the Washington Redskins in 2017. Charles Washington and Kenny Wiggins are currently with the Detroit Lions. Burse is also looking for a return to the NFL, currently as a free agent.

For Green, he’s currently serving the community through his organization and coaching basketball at Clarke Intermediate School, where the event was held. Green says he has a vision to bring the different pockets of the community together.

Green’s event partner, Jarica Williams, said of Fresno, “I loved how the community is small, but big, and there’s different pockets of the community. Isaiah has had this vision to bring the different pockets of Fresno together… The Fresno community wants more things to do.

“We had only been planning this for two months and to get the support we’ve had in a short amount of time is a testament to the community."

Green and Williams plan to make the charity game an annual event going forward.

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