James Lafferty, star of the locally filmed TV series “One Tree Hill,” broke some bad news on the OTHfans.com Web site this week. He won’t be holding a charity basketball game this year in Wilmington as he has for the past five years. The game has been a big hit with fans who get to buy “One Tree Hill”-related merchandise and take photos of the cast and crew competing on the court. Last year, more than 1,300 fans paying $25 each packed the stands of Cape Fear Community College’s Schwartz Center. Lafferty’s publicist released a statement to the site explaining why he canceled this year’s event: “I will not be holding a charity basketball game this year. As a result of constant harassment and gross invasions of privacy via e-mail and telephone, targeting myself, my friends and even my family, I no longer feel comfortable holding a fundraiser in such an intimate setting with fans. It is frustrating and discouraging that a few have ruined it for the many this year, and I hope that myself and the show have the opportunity to be charitable again in the future under different circumstances. I am not speaking on behalf of any of my cast, or the show as a collective. This is a personal choice. Thank you to all the fans who have been gracious, cordial and supportive of the charity events in the past, and thank you for understanding.” Lafferty has often said the charity game was one way he and the other cast members could give back to the fans. He’s been known as one of the more accessible stars of the show, not only because of the game, but also because of his involvement with the community. During the Wilmington Sea Dawg’s inaugural season, he and a few local filmmakers shot a documentary about the minor league basketball team. The film, “For Keeps,” debuted in 2008 at the popular Cucalorus Film Festival here. Lafferty and other “One Tree Hill” cast members sat in the crowd with film buffs and fans alike. He’s also taken time after shooting on location to walk across the street and sign autographs for waiting fans. Perhaps those affected the most, however, are the charities that have benefited from the basketball game’s proceeds. Last year, money went to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Winnie’s Garden and the Wilmington Family YMCA.
5th Annual James Lafferty Charity Basketball Game