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By Tennis Now | @Tennis_Now | Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Champions converged in New York City for a worthy tennis cause on Tuesday night.

Kim Clijsters, HJTEP Executive Director Katrina Adams, Rennae Stubbs, Stan Smith and Patrick McEnroe were among the players on hand to support the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program's 52nd Annual Gala on May 13 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.

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The sold-out event drew more than 350 guests, including tennis champions, celebrities, several New York Knicks, philanthropists and tennis fans.


Emceed by WCBS-TV news anchor Maurice DuBois, the star-studded gala celebrates the success of the nearly 1,000 youngsters who benefit from HJTEP tennis and education programs annually.

Famous faces walked the HJTEP red carpet including singer, actress, former Miss America and devoted tennis fan Vanessa L. Williams, former Knicks guard Allan Houston, former world No. 1 and US Open champion Kim Clijsters, Hall of Famer Stan Smith, who signed his signature Stan Smith shoes for fans, Grand Slam doubles champion and broadcaster Rennae Stubbs, former French Open doubles champion and former U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, former Knicks center Herb Williams, and former WTA pro Ahsha Rolle.

The 52nd annual charity gala raised close to $1 million for HJTEP programs.

Key auction items:

US Open President’s Box Tickets for 2: $13,000

Indian Wells VIP Tickets for 2: $16,000

Golf Outing with Hall of Famer and shoe icon Stan Smith: $16,000

ESPN US OPEN Behind the Scenes VIP Experience with ESPN analyst Patrick McEnroe: $14,000.


The gala honored two of HJTEP's most ardent supporters by presenting the Shining Star Award to Stan Smith, a tennis Hall of Famer and footwear icon; and the James R. Kelly III Chairman’s Award to Michelle Blake Wilson, an HJTEP alum and Board Member.

HJTEP develops champions in tennis education and wellness, bringing tennis to youth from high-risk, low-income inner-city neighborhoods and offers opportunities for self-development, emphasizing education and a positive code of behavior.

The not-for-profit organization opens a new door for many inner-city boys and girls, ages 6-18, to learn the game of tennis. Since 1972 the numbers speak to its success with a 95% high school graduation rate, a 3.1 GPA, and 80% of graduates attending college.


Partnering with local schools and community centers, HJTEP serves students year-round during the school year and with summer programs. The experience on the courts and in HJTEP’s education programs develops the “whole child”—in sports, school, and life. Tennis teaches kids essential life skills, sportsmanship, self-discipline, social and emotional competence, and how to fight obesity and lead healthier lives. In their after-school programming, participants also learn to improve communication skills and raise their fitness levels. For more information visit

Photo credits: All Photos by Fred Mullane and Susan Mullane