- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2001

The 40 Hall of Famers gathered for Bobby Mitchell's annual golf tournament and banquet this year came, as they always do, to support leukemia research. And, as usual. they also got to relive the good old days.
Basketball legend Bill Russell could be heard laughing raucously as he held court in one corner before dinner Saturday at the Lansdowne Resort outside Leesburg, Va.
Big man and former Miami Dolphins lineman Larry Little graciously shook off the familiar jibes about his last name.
Mr. Mitchell himself took time to sign some classic football cards for a big fan — First Virginia Bank President and event co-sponsor Michael Anzilotti.
"It's their fraternity weekend," Mr. Mitchell, a former receiver for the Washington Redskins and a 1983 hall inductee, said of his athlete brethren.
Unlike unpredictable celebrities, he said, "if they say they're going to be here, they'll be here."
This is the 11th year they flew in to headline the Bobby Mitchell/Chrysler-Jeep Hall of Fame Golf Classic, billed as the nation's largest annual gathering of Hall of Famers.
Mr. Mitchell, the assistant general manager of the Redskins, founded the event in honor of Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis, who was diagnosed with leukemia and never played a down of professional football. he died May 18, 1963, at age 23.
"Somebody has to help. You can't go through life without helping someone," said basketball's "Big O," Oscar Robertson, as he made the rounds during cocktail hour.
In between talk about leukemia, he opined that the Washington Wizards should have chosen Duke's Shane Battier with the No. 1 pick in the National Basketball Association draft rather than taking Kwame Brown straight from high school.
The charity event has raised more than $2 million over the years, including more than $425,000 this year. (Guests paid $2,500 for a dinner table of 10.)
"The tournament's popularity just keeps growing," said David Timko, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and a survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"There continues to be a fascination with the legends of the game," Mr. Timko said. "We had to turn people away for golf. We had to turn people away for dinner."
The highlight of the night, no doubt, was the rousing introductions given to each Hall of Famer before the dinner of grilled filet of beef and pan-seared salmon.
Master of ceremonies Paul Berry sounded like the PA announcer at an NBA playoff game as he read a brief biography of each old pro.
One by one, each beaming player walked with an escort through the crowd of 600 as a spotlight followed their every move. A giant screen above Mr. Berry displayed photographs of then and now.
The snazzy Hall of Fame jackets elicited approving comments from the ladies in the crowd, several of whom could be heard whispering about how cute they found Ace Parker, whose career in baseball and football got started in the 1930s.
The local guys — former Redskins Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff and Kenny Houston — received some of the greatest applause.
On Sunday, San Francisco 49er great Dave Wilcox and his team from SportsTalk 980 won the tournament at Lansdowne's Robert Trent Jones Jr. championship golf course.
Mr. Mitchell has never won his own tournament, and he doesn't mind. After all, he said, it might look a little suspicious.

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