Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon always is quick to point out the benefits of the Boys and Girls Club.

He should know, since he credits the nonprofit organization for shaping him into the man he is today.

"I didn't really have that male role model figure, and it was a positive influence in helping me with things I was interested in," said Gordon, who grew up in the New York area. "It was a big part of my childhood, and I go back to this day and do different things, camps. It was a great place for me.

"In my neighborhood, it gave you something to do besides be on the streets and get into trouble. It was a place you could go after school, and they were very adamant about finishing your homework, studying. It gave you some variety in your life, and I did things I never did with all the different activities and things they offered there, whether it be like arts and crafts and music or getting exposure to computers or things like that."

The Boys and Girls Club of Michigan will benefit from the Pistons' annual telethon Friday. The event begins at 5 a.m. with live radio and television broadcasts at the Palace and ends with the Pistons hosting the Knicks at 7:30 p.m. Every $50 donation allows a club to provide a free, one-year membership to a kid.