8th Annual Miracle Games

Rounding out a series of great winter fundraisers for wonderful causes are the 8th Annual Miracle Games, raising money for the Transplant Foundation. Run annually by Pinecrest teens (founded by Jordan Rose in 2007), this three-on-three basketball tournament has grown larger and more successful each year.

Pinecrest’s own Matt Hellinger, Jonathan Roth and Jayden Hardaway will spearhead this year’s event. And with a chance recent meeting of some involved parents, the separate “3s for Z” (3-point shot competition) will join forces with the Miracle Games.

For those of you who don’t know, New York Knicks’ Shooting Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. grew up attending Palmetto Junior and Senior High Schools. One of his close friends and basketball teammate was Alexander Standiford. Standiford was known as “Zander,” or “Z,” wore jersey No. 33 and had a great three-point shot.

As Hardaway’s skills grew, “Z” told Hardaway he was going to make it big, and that he wanted tickets when that day came. In 2009, during his freshman year at Florida State University, “Z” died suddenly, never able to see his buddy play in the national spotlight.

Since then, Tim Hardaway has been paying tribute to his friend by writing “RIP Z33” on his left shoe. The “3s for Z” contest was started in 2011 by mom Kimberly Standiford that raises money for worthy causes. "It was just perfect timing and a great fit to join the Miracle Games," she remarked.

These two causes run deep in the Pinecrest community. And much of it stems from the legacy and friendships Zander created. "It's not just what he left behind," explains his mother Kimberly Standiford, "It is the fact that he lives on in creating community goodness and sparking new friendships."

That included a special day recently for Matt Hellinger, Jonathan Roth and Jayden Hardaway where the Standifords had them over to the house. They heard stories about Zander, saw a tribute jersey and spent quality time playing a little ball.

Congregation Beth Am and Bet Shira have their hearts in the event, as do many local sponsors including Books & Books and Gift Chixx.

Don't miss being a part of this. You can register at www.miraclegamesand3sforz.com.  The event is on Saturday, February 21st at the Palmetto Senior High School Gym. Donation entry fees are $10 per person for the 3-on-3 tournament (begins at 10:30 a.m.) and $10 for the 3’s for Z’s contest (starts at 12:30 p.m.). Students receive community service hours and competition winners will received autographed basketballs.