News Release Details

L.A. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson Celebrates Record Donation to Special Olympics

October 02, 2000

L.A. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson Celebrates Record Donation to Special Olympics Cops & Lobsters Program Donates $1.2 Million to Charity

LOS ANGELES--Oct. 2, 2000--Phil Jackson, head coach of the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers, joined Special Olympics in Los Angeles to celebrate a record $1.2 million Red Lobster donation to the charity.

Los Angeles was the top fundraising city in the 2000 Cops & Lobsters campaign, which took place at nearly 600 Red Lobster restaurants across North America. During the annual fundraiser, thousands of uniformed law enforcement officers wait on tables at the seafood restaurants and donate their ``tips'' to local Special Olympics.

The top ten fundraising cities during the nine-week Cops & Lobsters campaign were Los Angeles ($52,823), Houston ($52,811), St. Louis ($36,845), Atlanta ($33,994), Orlando ($32,131), Chicago ($28,306), Washington, ($28,169), Philadelphia ($26,734), Portland ($25,236) and Phoenix ($24,398). The $1.2 million raised this year was a new record for Red Lobster, which has been raising funds for Special Olympics for 13 years.

On hand with Phil Jackson to receive the check was Paul Hoffman, a Special Olympics basketball athlete from Fullerton, Calif.; retired Lt. Stephen Graehling, chairman of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics; and Red Lobster Executive Vice President Wyman Roberts. Hoffman, a silver-medallist, has appeared in three Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Special Olympics helps more than a million individuals with special needs to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and participate in athletic events. To reach a Special Olympics office in your area, call 800/700-8585.

Red Lobster operates 650 restaurants in the United States and Canada with total annual sales of $2 billion. The company encourages its 60,000 crewmembers to get involved in local charities as part of the company's promise to the communities in which it does business.

Red Lobster is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest casual dining company. Darden also owns and operates Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Smokey Bones BBQ & Sports Bar restaurants. For the Red Lobster nearest you, call 1-800-LOBSTER or visit