Debbie Antonelli won't be getting much sleep this weekend.
Antonelli, a college basketball analyst for ESPN and CBS who lives in Mount Pleasant, has pledged to make 2,400 free throws in 24 hours to raise money and awareness for Special Olympics South Carolina.
Beginning at noon on Saturday at the Mount Pleasant Town Hall gym, Antonelli has vowed to make 100 free throws every hour for 24 hours in a marathon event dubbed "24 Hours of Nothing but Net." Antonelli is a unified athlete that competes alongside her son Frankie.
“I am partnering with Special Olympics to raise money shooting free throws for 24 hours,” Antonelli said. “Frankie has competed as a Special Olympic athlete in multiple sports and is thriving because of these experiences.
"Team Antonelli is proactive about sports and the lessons it teaches about giving your best, working as a team and staying healthy. Frankie’s work ethic and competitive spirit inspire me. This will be a unique event in Mount Pleasant and a unique way for people to get involved. I’m asking for your support.”
The former standout shooting guard at N.C. State figures it'll take roughly 10 minutes to make 100 free throws, which will allow her time to rest and sneak in a few naps.
“It’s like when I deploy for all the travel I do during basketball season,” Antonelli said. “I’ll have a little compound set up in the corner of the gym, with an air mattress, but I know getting a lot of sleep won’t be easy Saturday. It’s like training for a marathon. You don’t run the whole marathon before the race. You build up to it. Hopefully my adrenaline will kick in in those late hours. I’m confident it will.”
There will be a lot more than just free throw shooting going on during the event. There will be a Special Olympics and Unified Partner dance Saturday night, along with food trucks, live music, raffles and basketball games between the fire and police departments. On Sunday, College of Charleston head basketball coach Earl Grant and former Chicago Cubs minor-leaguer Chris Singleton will speak during the Breakfast of Champions, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Tickets to the breakfast are $20.
“I can’t think of two better Charleston-area people to speak than Chris Singleton and Earl Grant,” Antonelli said.
For more information and ways to contribute go to www.24hoursNBN.com.