LAS VEGAS — The MGM Resort NBA Summer League’s annual auction is shifting its focus to help those affected in the October 2017 shooting at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
In past years the proceeds from the silent auction went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year, with St. Jude’s blessing, the funds will be collected into a scholarship fund for the survivors and the families affected, according to summer league director of community relations Carole Marie Hattar.
All the items at auction were signed by players attending or participating in the summer league. The auction has been live since July 6, will end of July 17. It includes Suns memorabilia signed by Devin Booker and Dragan Bender.
“Our environment in the community is enormous so obviously when this happened it affected a lot of people …” Hattar, a Las Vegas resident, said. “We felt that this was something we could do to recognize in the community.”
On Wednesday night, the summer league will have a halftime performance to honor the victims and the first responders who were crucial in helping the community get through the tragedy that happened just a few miles away.
The performance will be headlined by Pat Dalton, who attended the Route 91 Music Festival and was in the crowd as bullets started to rain down on the concertgoers. Dalton was able to get his wife and eight other people into his car and away to safety.
One young lady was bleeding heavily when Dalton pulled her into his truck, he recalled during a phone call earlier this week. He started to drive away but realized she wasn’t going to survive if she didn’t get medical attention. Dalton swerved in front of an ambulance to flag it down and helped transport the lady to the first responders’ care.
In the following days, Dalton broke down after meeting the three children of one of the shooting victims who had passed away. As a career musician and songwriter, he sat down to work through the pain through his the skills he knew best.
He wrote and recorded a song called “58 Angels” but did not release it until a few months ago upon the urging of fellow survivors. They told Dalton that it would help heal others who were affected, he said.
The group of survivors from the shooting refer to each other as the “Route 91 family” and Dalton calls those nine people in his car his “immediate Route 91 family.”
Dalton was asked to perform on Wednesday night during a halftime performance not only because he helped save lives on that night but also because of his long history with basketball. While he made his career as a musician and owned a recording studio, Dalton has been coaching youth basketball since he was 19 years old. He currently serves as a coach in the Jr. NBA program, which sponsors 16 middle-school teams in the area.
Along with Dalton, local first responders around the Las Vegas area were honored on Wednesday.
Fans can bid on any of the auction items and support the cause at nbasummer.gesture.com