(Boomer Esiason coaching his team, while Craig Carton (center) is among the players on the bench)
QUEENS, N.Y. (May 6, 2016) – Honoring the memory of a true hero, Head Coach Chris Mullin, WFAN’s Boomer & Carton and a slew of other celebrities flocked to Carnesecca Arena on Friday night for the Joe Lemm Memorial Celebrity Basketball Game, raising funds for the family of Detective Lemm, who was killed in Afghanistan four days before Christmas.
Det. Lemm was a 15-year veteran of the NYPD, starting out in the 48th precinct, and spent the past five years working on the Bronx Warrant Squad. He earned the nickname “Superman” from his fellow cops during his decorated career in law enforcement.
In December, Lemm, also a technical sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, and five other members of his squad were killed on patrol by a suicide bomber near Bagram Airfield.
“Joe Lemm is a hero, an American hero,” said WFAN’s Boomer Esiason. “He did three tours overseas, served 15 years as a veteran on the NYPD. He started down on the pile during 9/11. You can imagine what this loss means to his family, to the family of the NYPD. When it came to Craig’s desk and came to me, I said this is exactly what I want to do, let’s go.”
Prior to the game, Lemm’s family was honored on the court with a touching video tribute, while his daughter, Brooke, performed the national anthem. His wife, Christine, and his son, Ryan, were also in attendance.
In addition to Mullin, Carton and Esiason, a number of other notable names suited up for the celebrity team. St. John’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach Joe Tartamella, St. John’s great and New York Mets Hall of Famer John Franco, New York Giants legends Tiki Barber and Justin Tuck, former world No. 1 tennis player John McEnroe, former Duke standout Thomas Hill, CBS analyst Doug Gottlieb and former NBA player Marty Conlon all suited up for the worthwhile cause.
Super Bowl winning coach Bill Cowher led the NYPD team, which featured 17 active members of New York’s Finest.
Before the game, Mullin spoke about the special relationship that both he and the University have with the police department.
“I was walking down 14th Street in the City and bumped into a young woman, a police officer. I said hello and asked her how she was,” recalled Mullin. “The next day I got an email and it turns out her mom works at St. John’s. We have a lot of St. John’s alumni in the police force, some of my family are police. It’s really natural. When you see these stories, these people are just regular, hardworking guys. They provide for their families and they are protecting us. It shows the great side of New Yorkers.”
The light-hearted, friendly affair resulted in a 66-61 victory for the celebrity squad, who withstood a furious second-half comeback that saw the NYPD erase a double-digit deficit.