"As time passes, there are more smiles than tears," said Neil Mulhall, whose son Michael died. He and his wife, Peggy, wore purple as a reminder of their son's college, the University of Scranton.
Michael Mulhall, 22, Jamie Malone, 22, and her sister Paige Malone, 19, all of Floral Park, died on July 15, 2010, after their car crashed into a tree along the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Roosevelt.
The driver, Mulhall's sister Justine, then 20, swerved to avoid a car she believed had gone into her lane, police say. She, along with another passenger, Kelly Murphy, then 20, survived.
More than 1,500 people attended the second annual Malone Mulhall Benefit Basketball Game at Adelphi University's Center for Recreation and Sports in Garden City. Among those in the crowd were teary-eyed James Malone and his wife, Diane, who reminisced about their two daughters.
"Basketball is big in our family," said James Malone, 60, the basketball coach at Beach Channel High School. "They were all in the gym since they were 3 years old."
Before the accident, the five had been on their way to work as counselors at Camp ANCHOR, a summer camp in Lido Beach for people with mental and physical handicaps. A $6 million indoor recreational facility is being built at the camp in memory of the three counselors who died.
Several professional basketball players with ties to New York played in the game, including Danny Green from the San Antonio Spurs. Basketball Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, and Mike Breen, a TV announcer for the New York Knicks, were the celebrity coaches.
Before the game, the Malones and the Mulhalls were greeted with hugs and kisses from the coaches and the players, who wore No. 3 gray T-shirts in honor of the counselors.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Jamie and Paige Malone Foundation, which awards scholarships, and the Michael Mulhall Memorial Scholarship Fund. Last year, close to $50,000 was raised.