Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.
Love is in the air for NBA legend Michael Jordan, who arrived on the Strip today in advance of Thursday’s start of his 12th annual Celebrity Invitational golf tournament and fundraiser. He is here with fiancee Yvette Prieto, and wedding invitations have gone out to their friends for the ceremony in Palm Beach, Fla., on April 27.
It’s the third consecutive year of his golf tournament at Aria and the high-roller golf course Shadow Creek. Michael’s event has already attracted some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment for the four days of competitive golf and party events.
“We raised more than $500,000 last year for charity and enjoyed a lot of special moments. This year’s tournament is certain to be even better. Shadow Creek is incredible and one of my favorite golf courses, and it’s open to the public once again,” Michael said in a press release.
Since being formed 12 years ago, he has donated more than $6 million to charities. Returning participants include Marcus Allen, Roger Clemens, Penny Hardaway, Brett Hull, Ken Griffey Jr., Toni Kukoc, Mario Lemieux and Greg Maddux. Defending champion Brandi Chastain also returns with Jerome Bettis, Ozzie Smith, Winky Wright, Wayne and Janet Jones Gretzky and my good pal Alan Thicke.
Newcomers include Michael Phelps, Jerry Rice, Jonathan Ogden, Dustin Johnson, Josh Freeman, Jake Owen, James Denton, Rob Riggle and Kevin Nealon. Wayne Brady will host the Friday night awards show, with singer John Legend and Monte Carlo headliners Blue Man Group providing entertainment.
Nike Sports bought out the upstairs event space at the adjoining restaurant SHe at Crystals for today’s opening party. Engineers have worked the past few days to convert it back into the nightclub before it was shuttered with a dance show behind a curtain of onstage rain and a DJ laser show.
The celebrity-amateur pairings tournament takes place Thursday and Friday. Michael’s two-person, 36-hole scramble tournament only with competing stars is Saturday and Sunday. Proceeds from the tournament benefit our beloved charity Opportunity Village, the Make-a-Wish Foundation here, plus, Michael’s own James R. Jordan Foundation and Cats Care, the official charity of his NBA team the Charlotte Bobcats.
There are general and VIP admission tickets on sale at all 10 MGM Resorts box offices and online at MJCIGolf.com and ShadowCreek.com. Complimentary shuttle service runs between Aria and Shadow Creek every 30 minutes. Check back regularly, as we have our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue and videographer Richard Corey onsite for the 2013 MJCI.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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