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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

CFC Slam Dunk

IC Directors Play Hoops for a Cause

Bianchi tries to steal basketball from Backus

NICHD director Dr. Diana Bianchi (l) defends against Joyce Backus of NLM.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Pérez-Stable reaches around a very tall Hays, who's holding up his arms to block.

NIMHD director Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable (l) finds a way around the defense of Hays.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Group shot of winning team with NBA star Walt Williams

Former NBA star Walt Williams (second from l) and NINDS director Dr. Walter Koroshetz (kneeling) congratulate the victorious Code Red team that included (from l) NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, NEI’s Dustin Hays and Backus.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

A smiling Tabak stands with basketball in front of crowd.

Enforcing “Brooklyn rules,” NIH principal deputy director Dr. Lawrence Tabak serves as referee before an enthusiastic crowd.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Battey standing on outdoor court with basketball

Institute directors, including Dr. James Battey Jr. of NIDCD, support CFC.

Photo: Marleen Van Den Neste

Eight teams that included NIH institute directors vied for the gold at the CFC Directors’ Basketball Challenge Oct. 26 on the Clinical Center’s outdoor court. The event helped launch the Combined Federal Campaign fund-raising drive.

“I’ve seen these guys warm up and you’re gonna get a real treat today,” said University of Maryland basketball legend and former NBA pro Walt Williams, who served as coach and co-emcee.

Every shot earned a point. The first of each 3-person team to reach 7 points, or whoever led when the 4-minute clock ran out, would win the game. “I anticipate us going to 4 minutes every time,” quipped Williams. The tourney then got under way amid much cheering and laughter from a crowd that had assembled not only courtside but also along a rampart overlooking the court.

Although the hoop was set at 8 instead of 10 feet, the first round began with quite a few air balls and attempted layups. Then, NINDS director and CFC co-chair Dr. Walter Koroshetz scored the first basket of the day and made his free throw to break the tie when the clock ran out.

In every round, referee Dr. Lawrence Tabak, NIH principal deputy director, didn’t miss a travel call, blocking violation or foul. Not shy with his whistle, Tabak enforced “Brooklyn rules” for 3-on-3 games, a few rules on possession, passing and fouling, including “no blood, no foul.”

“After a score, the other team gets the ball,” explained Koroshetz, who along with Tabak and NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci, hails from Brooklyn. “The original notes for the CFC had the ball going to the team that scored [also known as “make it, take it” or “winners”] but Dr. Fauci noticed this was incorrect and we changed it.”

Team Code Red had a slight advantage thanks to 6’8” teammate Dustin Hays, NEI’s chief of science communications. Fauci and Joyce Backus, NLM associate director for library operations, had many assists but they left most of the scoring to Hays. In the end, Code Red won the gold.

“This is how the directors demonstrate their support for the CFC in a fun way,” said OD’s Christine Brake, a member of the CFC steering committee. “This event takes them out of their normal business day to do something personal and highlight the campaign.”

For more information about donating to the CFC, visit—Dana Talesnik

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