Michael Jordan, Will Smith, Phelps, Gretzky & More At MJCI Gala At ARIA

Sports and entertainment stars including Michael Jordan, Will Smith, Don Cheadle, Bruce & Brody Jenner, Chevy Chase, Michael Phelps, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Jerry Rice and Wayne Gretzky among many more gathered for the 12th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Celebration at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas Friday, April 5, 2013.

Michael Jordan, Prieto and Will Smith
Michael Jordan, Yvette Prieto and Will Smith

The star-studded annual gala marks a night of celebration kicking off the two days of exclusive celebrity golf competition at Shadow Creek golf course in the name of charitable fundraising. Stars arrived on the red carpet in droves, stopping to smile for cameras as they met Joseph Domingues, a Make-A-Wish “wish kid” who fulfilled his dream of meeting MJ earlier in the day.

Michael Jordan and Joe Domingues
Joseph Dominguez and Michael Jordan

Joseph was able to meet many of his idols at the event, including Michael Phelps, who gave Joseph some pointers on how to walk a red carpet, Marcus Allen, Stuart Scott, Roger Clemens, Vince Coleman, Jonathan Ogden, Ron Harper and Jerome Bettis.

Bruce and Brody Jenner at MJCI
Bruce and Brody Jenner
Michael Jordan and Yvette Prieto
Michael Jordan and Yvette Prieto
Wayne Gretzky, Janet Gretzky and Trevor Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky, Janet and Trevor Gretzky

At the gala celebration inside ARIA, celebrities mingled while enjoying gourmet preparations from ARIA Las Vegas restaurants including bar MASA, Jean Georges Steakhouse, Sage, Tetsu, Sirio Ristorante, Lemongrass, Javier’s and Blossom. Guests also sipped craft cocktails from multiple bars sponsored by Ciroc and Moët Hennessy.

Will Smith and Michael Phelps
Will Smith and Michael Phelps
Chevy and Jane Chase at MJCI
Chevy and Jane Chase at MJCI

Jordan sat front-and-center by the stage with fiancée Yvette Prieto to enjoy the evening’s entertainment. He was joined by Will Smith, whom he hugged upon arrival.

Will Smith and Michael Jordan
Will Smith and Michael Jordan

The crowd also enjoyed a surprise show by Blue Man Group, who emerged from the crowd to dazzle guests with their immersive audiovisual comedy show, and a live performance by GRAMMY Award-winning artist John Legend, who admitted he was feeling “star struck” amongst his company for the evening.

The soulful singer serenaded attendees with his hits including “Green Light” as he played piano. Comedian/singer Wayne Brady headlined entertainment for the evening, delivering his signature interactive freestyle sketch comedy as he accepted storyline suggestions from the audience.

Brady launched his hilarious performance with a “Stuck In an Elevator” skit, a topic suggested by Will Smith, whom Brady jokingly referred to as the “Fresh Prince” to the delight of the audience. Brady incorporated insider pokes at various celebrities into his standup show, which was co-hosted by Jonathan Mangum.

CityCenter President & CEO Bobby Baldwin welcomed the elite crowd to ARIA hotel and introduced “His Airness.” MJ took the microphone to thank his friends, sponsors and volunteers for all of the hard work put in to make the charitable tournament a huge success. The champion wished his competitors good luck, but remarked that he was looking forward to winning on the final day of MJCI on Sunday.

Later in the evening, the party transformed into a pop-up nightclub with R&B, EDM and hip-hop beats spun by DJ Irie. Celebrities danced into the early morning hours and NFL legend Jason Taylor was even spotted ascending the DJ booth to spin a few tracks for his friends at the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational Gala. Photo credit: Getty Images Entertainment, Isaac Brekken/Bryan Steffy

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Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.

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