Hawks’ Horford, Bazemore host Spongebob advance screening for local kids

Atlanta Hawks standouts Al Horford and Kent Bazemore have helped the team jump out to the Eastern Conference's best record.

ATLANTA — Two Atlanta Hawks players, All-Star forward Al Horford and guard Kent Bazemore, participated in an advance screening of The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water on Thursday night, hosting more than 200 kids from local Boys & Girls clubs and Covenant House. The event also included Operation P.E.A.C.E., an after-school and summer education program in Atlanta.

The process to reach Thursday’s VIP screening at the Regal Atlantic Station 18 cinema — and the children’s red-carpet photo op with the two NBA standouts — began when Jeff Pomeroy, a 20-year PR veteran with Turner Sports before moving to JDP Communications, reached out to Horford’s agent about a prospective early showing on behalf of Paramount Pictures. Horford, who has remained actively involved in multiple community outreach programs since joining the Hawks organization in 2007, agreed to co-host along with Bazemore.

"I’ve always liked working with schools and organizations in the community," Horford said at the event. "This is a cool experience."

Similar events involving the Spongebob premiere took place around the country with softball star Jennie Finch, Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia and NBA standouts Steve Nash and Danny Green.

"It’s a great promotional opportunity for Paramount," Pomeroy said, "and it’s great to reach out and do something for the community like this."

The movie is set to be released on Feb. 6. The popular animated TV show’s characters will star alongside non-cartoon actors for the first time in the series’s history, much like Space Jam or Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Regal 18 set up a mini-red carpet in front of the life-size Spongebob promotion for the kids to walk through and have their photo taken with the two Hawks, who have helped their team win a franchise-record 17 straight games, galvanizing the city’s sports scene in the process. Afterwards, every kid (ages 6 through 12) was given a pair of 3-D glasses, popcorn and a drink before finding a seat in the theater.

And while Horford was being informed of his third-career All-Star selection, Bazemore was busy finding his seat in the theater. A self-proclaimed kid himself, Bazemore said earlier in the day he was perhaps more excited about the movie than his 200-plus honored guests.

Bazemore’s original problem with the animated film’s Feb. 6 release? The Hawks have a pivotal showdown against the Golden State Warriors that night. He was going to be a little busy.

"I wanted to see it," Bazemore said, laughing. "That’s the bottom line."