Charlotte Bobcats Emeka Okafor and Kasey Kahne to host Team 950 Suite Party for Kids on Friday, Janu

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Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor and NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne will host 50 students and chaperones from Mr. Jeremiah Merritt's Merry Oaks Elementary School class as guests for their Team 950 Suite Party for Kids on Friday, January 27, in conjunction with the Bobcats' game against Miami at 7:30 p.m. at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. The students will watch the game from a suite at Charlotte Bobcats Arena. Kahne and Okafor will be present in the suite to interact with their guests.

"The purpose of Team 950 is to provide experiences for children who would not otherwise have these opportunities," Okafor said. "We are happy to honor these students who have overcome obstacles in their daily lives to excel in their school work and relationships with others."

Team 950, a partnership created to provide opportunities for kids in need, was created by Kahne, who drives the number 9 Dodge, and Okafor, who wears jersey number 50 for the Bobcats. Rookies of the year in their respective sports, Kahne and Okafor provide 40 tickets to every Bobcats weekend home game throughout the 2005-06 season plus selected NASCAR events in the Southeast region to deserving underprivileged youth in partnership with the Bobcats Charitable Foundation.

"Emeka and I are excited to have the chance to watch the game with these children," Kahne said. "We will enjoy getting to know this diverse group of students and being able to share this experience with them and see the game through their eyes."

Merritt's fifth grade class was selected to attend this game based on a series of articles that appeared in the Charlotte Observer from November 2005 to January 2006. Merritt is a young, African-American teacher in an international school represented by approximately 30 different countries, with only 44 percent who speak English as their first language.

"The students and I are thrilled to have the chance to watch the Bobcats play Miami alongside Emeka Okafor and Kasey Kahne," Merritt said. "Our fifth-graders strive for excellence and it is fantastic to see people in the community who want to reward students for their efforts."

The Bobcats are the NBA's 30th franchise and play tonight, January 25, at Houston at 8:30 p.m. The game can be seen on News 14 Carolina and heard on WNMX 106.1 FM. For information on becoming a Bobcats Season Ticket Holder, call 704-BOBCATS.

The Charlotte Bobcats organization includes the Charlotte Bobcats (NBA), the Charlotte Sting (WNBA) and Charlotte Bobcats Arena, which opened on October 21, 2005.


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