LOS ANGELES -- Just when you think you know Clayton Kershaw cold, he shows up at his fundraiser wearing shocking pink sweats and goggles.That was him on the "Blue" carpet Thursday night, posing for paparazzi photos with special guest Matthew McConaughey before he and wife, Ellen, kicked off their sixth
LOS ANGELES -- Just when you think you know Clayton Kershaw cold, he shows up at his fundraiser wearing shocking pink sweats and goggles.
That was him on the "Blue" carpet Thursday night, posing for paparazzi photos with special guest Matthew McConaughey before he and wife, Ellen, kicked off their sixth annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose at Dodger Stadium, honoring the just keep livin Foundation of McConaughey and his wife, Camila, with honorary hosts Bryan Cranston and Robin Dearden.
Hollywood met the local sports world at the event, which raises funds to support Kershaw's Challenge initiatives, which has given over $6 million to support at-risk children and families around the globe. This year's beneficiaries are the Dream Center and just keep livin Foundation's programs at Fremont High School in Los Angeles and the International Justice Mission's fight against the slave trade in the Dominican Republic.
Clayton is particularly excited about the earmarking of funds to build a playground at the Dream Center in Los Angeles.
"That's where the money is going, to the Dream Center, which I think is really cool," Clayton said. "There's a lot of kids there that will have a playground to play on, which is awesome.
"This is a cool part of baseball. We never set out to do any of this. It started with one girl in Africa [Hope, a Zambian orphan embraced by Ellen] and turned into this. Sometimes, baseball opens up really cool avenues."
The Kershaws have since funded construction of an orphanage and shelter in Zambia and spread their generosity to at-risk children in their native Dallas, adopted home of Los Angeles and the Dominican Republic, where the organization's emphasis is rescuing children forced into slave labor.
"Tonight, we're going to try to get 20 people to stand up and say they'll contribute the $6,300 it costs for each rescue," said Ellen. "When you think about it, you can't put a price tag on a life, but if you could, it's $6,300 to rescue a child out of slavery."
The Dodgers' turnout at Dodger Stadium included Scott Alexander, Austin Barnes, Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler, JT Chargois, James Dozier, Caleb Ferguson, Dylan Floro, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Rich Hill, Daniel Hudson, Matt Kemp, Manny Machado (sporting a Michael Jordan jersey), Kenta Maeda, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager, Thomas Stripling, Justin Turner, Chase Utley, Pat Venditte, Alex Wood and manager Dave Roberts.
The Hollywood turnout featured Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Eric Stonestreet, "This Is Us"'s Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz, "Pitch Perfect"'s Skylar Astin, "Ballers"' Donovan Carter and Omar Miller, Kunal Nayyar ("The Big Bang Theory"), Haley Joel Osment, Emily Osment ("Young & Hungry"), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men), Matt Iseman ("American Ninja Warrior"), Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon ("Bachelor in Paradise"), Becca Tilley ("The Bachelor"), Ben Higgins ("The Bachelor"), Wells Adams ("The Bachelorette"), Josh Henderson ("Dallas"), Lala Kent ("Vanderpump Rules"), Oscar de la Hoya, Milan Lucic (Edmonton Oilers), Alec Martinez (LA Kings), Tyler Toffoli (LA Kings), Jack Campbell (LA Kings), Marcellus Wiley (FOX Sports), Jawun Evans (LA Clippers) and Josh Hart (LA Lakers).
In addition to his annual financial donation for every strikeout, Kershaw is offering a one-on-one pitching lesson in the offseason in his hometown of Dallas. The winning bidder will receive two round-trip tickets on American Airlines for the lesson, a two-night stay at a luxury hotel, two autographed items for each guest and one autographed Wilson authentic game model glove. Bidding runs through Sept. 2 and can be submitted to Harlan Werner at email@example.com. Bidding starts at $25,000.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.