NBA players come to Spartan Stadium

Lima natives, friends reunite for fundraiser

By Shannon Bohle - [email protected]

Tyler Ulis, Travis Walton and Shanndale Walton

Tyler Ulis, Travis Walton and Shanndale Walton

Shanndale Walton and Tyler Ulis

Shanndale Walton and Tyler Ulis

LIMA — Shanndale Walton is bringing together two great organizations, 1ENT Tyler Ulis and NFL Zaiver Simpson, to play in the second annual ALL-STAR and Celebrity basketball game from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 25 at Lima Senior High School, 1 Spartan Way, Lima.

Profits from the event will raise funds for the Tyler Ulis Foundation and back-to-school gift bags for kids.

Tyler Ulis Foundation

“Tyler is from Lima and attended Shawnee, then went to high school at Marion Catholic in Chicago Heights for his freshman year and ended up making it into the NBA,” said Walton, who is Tyler’s cousin and is four years older. “He started this foundation when he was in a league and hosted camps.”

The now 26-year-old Ulis starred at the University of Kentucky and was drafted into the NBA to play for the Phoenix Suns at the end of his sophomore year in 2016 and stayed with them until 2018 when he joined the Chicago Bulls. At the end of 2018, however, Ulis needed hip surgery and was subsequently waived by the Bulls. By September 2019, Ulis was doing better and was picked up by the NBA G-League’s Stockton Kings and played with them until 2020.

“I’ve been in and out [of the NBA] because of injuries. I got into a pretty serious car accident in February that I was blessed to make it through,” Ulis said last week. ”I’m in the hospital now. Because I have so much downtime, because of the injuries, I just want to be able to stay around the game and help the next generation.”

While he is recovering, Ulis hopes to put on a fun game and inspire kids. He said he plans to be at Saturday’s game.

Overall, Ulis said, Lima is doing “pretty great” in terms of producing NBA players. “When you are able to go up and touch guys, who grew up in the same city as you and came from the same type of circumstances and made it to a certain level, it allows kids to see for themselves what’s possible and it inspires them to keep working.”

He also mentioned Lima Senior and Michigan State alum and once-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Travis Walton as an inspiration and role model.

Ulis said that in a big city like Chicago, it is easier to get exposure to high-level players. The goal of this event is to try to bring some of that exposure to a smaller city as well.

Over the years, Ulis said he has tried to find ways to ‘give back’ by helping children, including backpack giveaways, shoe drives, and adopt-a-family for Christmas.

Ulis’s cousin, Walton, played basketball for Lima Senior and then went on to play for Rhodes State and then transferred to a college in Michigan. Around that time, Walton’s brother, Travis, played for Michigan State and started a successful training business. Walton joined the business as a trainer. That’s where he trained with a number of players at Michigan State who later went on to play for the NBA, including Denzel Valentine (Chicago Bulls), Gary Harris (Denver Nuggets), Adrian Payne (Atlanta Hawks) and Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors).

“Every single day there are kids who look up to us. Obviously, everyone has busy schedules, but we want to come back home, have fun, and give back to the community. So, we’re pleased to be able to bring the community together in a positive event like this, and we want to come back and do annual events,” said co-organizer and Lima native Zavier Simpson.

NBA and NCAA Players Coming to Lima

Ulis and Simpson have recruited a number of fellow professionals to play in the all-star game in Lima, including players how have spent time in the college ranks, playing professionally overseas, and even NBA players.

This year’s All-Star lineup attending and/or playing will include, among many others:

• Tyler Ulis (Shawnee, University of Kentucky, Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns)

• Zavier Simpson (Lima Central Catholic and Lima Senior, University of Michigan, L.A. Lakers, Oklahoma City Blue)

• Dantez Walton (Lima Central Catholic, plays overseas)

• Martyce Kimbrough (Lima Central Catholic, plays overseas)

• Carlik Jones (Dallas Mavericks, Louisville Cardinals)

• Jalen Billups (Northern Kentucky, plays overseas)

• Andre Yates (Ohio High School Basketball Champion, plays overseas)

• Joe Thomasson (plays overseas)

• Devon Scott (University of Dayton, plays overseas)

Tickets: Available at

$10 General Admission

$20 Family General Admission (one adult and two children)

$100 VIP Court-Side Seats

Tyler Ulis, Travis Walton and Shanndale Walton Ulis, Travis Walton and Shanndale Walton
Shanndale Walton and Tyler Ulis Walton and Tyler Ulis
Lima natives, friends reunite for fundraiser

By Shannon Bohle

[email protected]

Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

Reach Shannon Bohle at 567-242-0399, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Bohle_LimaNews.

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