Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Phoenix-Houston Hoops Group Launches New Online Site


Just when you thought you've heard
and seen it all.  The Phoenix/Houston Hoop Group,
under the vision, and direction, of Media Master Chris
Ramirez launches a new sports website, that promises
to dazzle the mind, and elevate your sports IQ.

                                                    Chris Ramirez delivers another hit
                                                     with his newly launched website.
     
The site is called College, and Pro Hoops, and
it's already taking the industry by storm.
Fresh and insightful perspectives delivered
to your doorstep, first thing in the A.M.
College and Pro Hoops Website

The site is dedicated to covering the NBA
and Division I Men's College Basketball.
We have worked with Chris Ramirez for
over twenty years, and we know that his site
is going to be quite successful. Congrats!!

The site is widely recognized as a trusted
source for basketball news, and in-depth
analysis, giving passionate fans their daily
dose of all things relating to the game.
 
Here is a link for an article posted for
Pearl Washington & Conrad McCrae
 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

MBA-National Masters Championships-Coral Springs, Florida Report


Coral Springs, Florida
Masters Basketball Association
National Championships

The sweet, early morning,
sea breeze, brushes your face, 
as the warm sand slowly
swallows your toes.  No traffic,
no litter, or crowded trains, 
today for these aging eyes and 
ears.  Just a laid back sunny
scenario, where flip-flops trump Timberlands, and sun-screen
slowly wipes away the day to 
day stress.
   
Welcome to the 32nd Masters National
Championships held at the sun drenched
community of Coral Springs, FL.  Where
old friends, and foes, tie-up the laces tight,
in a contest of basketball attrition.  Aging
athletes, confidently, showcasing their
wares here on the shoreline, all the while 
scoring, and defending, on the baseline.   

        Coral Springs, FL in May; Sand, Sea & Seniors in the Sun.


                                                 Image result for usa flag

Here are the latest happenings at Coral Springs 2016...
Were should I start? The professionalism, and the
organizational presence, of the Masters Basketball
Association is felt from the moment you step into
the arena.  There aren't many other events that
could possibly rival what is showcased in Coral
Springs every May.  The talented, veteran, athletes
appreciate the attention to detail, and welcome
the golden platform of athletic operation.
The location, sunshine, facilities, and game
administration is basically second to none, and
a welcome experience that keeps the slowly
aging players returning for more each year. 


Masters Basketball Website  



TEAMS IN THE 40+ & 45+ DIVISION

1-Watterson Construction, Anchorage, AK
2-USA South, Clearwater, FL

TEAMS IN THE 50+ DIVISION

1-Bedford 50, Ontario, Canada [5-0]
2-The Kings, Sunrise FL/NYC   [4-1]
3-South Florida Elite, Coral Springs, Florida [3-1]
4-Our Gang, Hayward, CA
5-Roto Rooter, Boca Raton, FL
6-Sidewinder Reels, Tucker, GA

TEAMS IN THE 55+ DIVISION











1-Indy All-Stars, Indianapolis, IN [5-0]
2-Tampa Stooges, Tampa, FL   [3-2]
3-Athletics Unlimited, Sacramento, CA [2-2]
4-Dellagnese Construction, Lexington, KY [1-3]
5-Bedford 55, Ontario, Canada [1-3]

These MBA Coral Springs games come with
a certain degree of intensity, and urgency.
Teams lay it all on the line giving each, and
every, game value as teams compete collectively
with a sense of purpose.  I've played in a few
of these master's events over the past three, or
four years.  I've seen teams, and referees, mail
in their ballots, and take a few games off.  For
the most part, there wasn't much of that going
on in Coral Springs.  Teams were playing "Up
in your grill" defense, and competing at the
highest level possible.  No Games Off.

TEAMS IN THE 60+ DIVISION

1-Victory, Miami, FL [5-0]
2-Bedford 60 Ontario, Canada [3-2]
3-Brown Construction, O'Fallon, MO
4-SportsPower USA, Baltimore, MD
5-Total Package, Kim Atwater, CPA
6-The Ward, Boiling Springs, PA

TEAMS IN THE 65+ DIVISION











1-Team USA, Hometown, USA
2-Oakland's Finest, El Sobrante, CA
3-Golden Ward, Boiling Springs, PA

TEAMS IN THE 70+ DIVISION

1-Clearwater Aces, Pinellas Park, FL
2-East Bank Saloon, Portland, OR

TEAMS IN THE 75+ DIVISION

1-Peach Tree Bank, Chadds Ford, PA
2-Vintage USA, Venice, FL
3-American Eagles, Hastings on the Hudson, NY
4-Windy City, Indianapolis, IN

video


                                   Tampa USA 50 from TAMPA, FL





                              Clearwater Aces, Some serious Florida Ballers 70+ Division



                       The Kings 50+ from New York City


                             Our Gang 50+ from Hayward, California


At this particular event I am rolling with the Bedford 55
team, formally known as LCI, from Toronto, Canada.
                     Bedford 55+-Defensive & Scrappy club Coached by
              Doug "Puffy" Combs [2nd Row-2nd from Left]
         *Note: It's always best to take a team picture after a win.
Keep a Smile on Your Face...EWF 

video

                                    
Once again, I am fortunate to have been linked with two exceptional roommates.  One is Greg Frost from Chicago
by way of Kansas, and he's aka "Mr. Freeze" leaving 
defenders frozen in their tracks in the open court.  
Greg is also known around the country as "The Dictator" 
and is a Native American baller, Division One college 
recruiter, and practitioner of Sports Physical Science.  
He can break down defensive, and offensive sequences, 
or the human anatomy.  He can also calmly articulate 
advanced basketball concepts, and theories, in a basic 
digestible fashion. 

The athletes of Sportspower 60+ Baltimore, MD

Alaska is in the house with some serious ballplayers in the 45+

My other roommate is Brad Spice aka "The Shot Doctor"
who is a former European Pro Basketball player, who is
currently coaching in Germany.  Also a son of Illinois,
like Greg, Brad has Iron Man tendencies, flying straight 
to Florida, and fearlessly cliff diving onto the court in 
Coral Springs in two age divisions [55+ and 60+].  Here 
is a sixty plus baller, who laughs in the face of fatigue, 
and who bravely backhands jet-lag with a flick of the
wrist.  Brad's got the late model rental car, he's the able
driver, and just like the Marines, nobody gets left behind.

                            The Four Amigos at courtside at MBA Coral Springs, FL.
                    [Front: Tony Wilson, Lahh Woods, Walt Finden, Rear: Greg Frost]

Madd, Madd Shout to my Brother, Tony Wilson,
for coming to Coral Springs, and hanging out with me
and my Bedford teammates in Room 148! Big Brother
was a natural at the game we know, and love, and I pray
for the day that we can be on the court, as teammates,
at the same time.  Maybe, next May, 2017, God willing,
we can make some noise down here in Florida. 

                           Greatest of times in Coral Springs 2016

Thank you, you've been a Great Brother to me, and a
smooth example of how to navigate the many challenges
of life.  I have to admit that you, and Brother Gus
cleared the way for me Uptown...on and off the court.

So let's get to the matter...I'm in the back seat of the 
rental, on the way to game two, sunshine kicking hard,
head-phones pregame booming on 8...just me, and Ray 
Barretto feeling the blessings of the color white, and 
all things good...Just when I thought things couldn't 
get any better, "My Mans and Them" Greg asks me
to pick an "All-Time New York City Starting Five"
that could compete, and win, verses any other city.
I confidently laugh to myself knowing that this was
going to be fun, and worthy of some heavy ink on 
these very pages.  


O.K. I understand blind patriotism, civic pride, and 
unconditional love, and devotion, for the home team, 
regardless of how good, or bad, they are.  Remember, 
I know pain,  long suffering, disappointment and 
betrayal...I'm a Black American, and a Knick fan.


The Ward...Some of Philly's Finest

      Always competitive Ultimate Hoops Review, Chicago, IL

Greg follows his semi-loaded question with a slight
smile on his face saying, "Well they say that New
York is the Mecca of basketball, but I'm from
Chicago and we got great ballers out there too."
Brad, the German coach, nods his head while 
changing over to the passing lane and hitting
the gas. I don't argue.  I personally know that 
there are incredible ballers all over the world,
and they have my ultimate respect from California
to Cairo. I then, in a smooth and mellow tone, "Tiny
Archibald and Joe Hammond in the backcourt..."
I am interrupted in my tracks by a voice from
somewhere in the front seats, "Who is Joe 
Hammond?" The other voice asks, "Is he a one 
or a two?"  Honestly...this messes my head up for
a moment.  I regroup and back-track, "Ok, Ok...
at center...Kareem Abdul-Jabbar...You've heard
of him right?!"  The front seats are ecstatic and 
shout the praises of larger than life career of 
Kareem, running off stats and numbers at an
alarming rate.  A slam dunk.  
    I then ask the front seats if I can expand the 
recruiting playing field to include any New York 
ballers technically outside of the five boroughs?  
The front seats agree, murmuring something about
now they can get some leverage from some guy 
who was pretty good "back in the day" from 
across the Illinois state line from some obscure 
town called French Lick.  Needless to say, I am
interrupted every turn of the way.  We had some
good laughs, and my NYC five is listed below.
I know there are plenty of other legends I could
have named but I'll stick with my NYC Five
for now.   

     Bedford 60...They like to run & gun...Greyhounds & Shooters



 East Bank Saloon 70+...Always Ready to Play!



Team USA 65+

video





                                INDY All-Stars 55+ Champs in MBA 2016 Coral Springs

Here in the Coral Springs Masters Gym,
I worked the room, and ask the players to
name their home town, and the five 
representative players who could compete
against any other city in the U.S.A.  Any
era...any level...Pro/College/HS or street.
They all had amazing stories of larger
than life, sky walking, fire breathing, long
range shooting ballers, who I never heard
tell of.  Some of the names were familiar
...most were not.  We all have our favorite
HHH we grew up watching. What is a 
HHH?   Well that is a Hometown Hoop
Hero, and some amongst us this week 
are Hometown Hoop Heroes in our
cities across America. Feel free to join
the dialogue in the comments section
below.  Name your city, name your 
schools, and name your Heroes, or
your Hoop She-roes.

One of Jim Sweeney's HHH who played at USC!

Skip Harlicka helped lead USC to hoops prominence in the mid-1960s.
     Skip Harlicka
 "Trenton's Finest"
                                                   Image result for usa flag

                               Roger Larson [Victory 60 MBA Champs] aka Winston Churchill

           Roger Larson is a larger than life "Masters Hoop
Enthusiast" who's a barrel of laughs, and a significant
part of the serious Seattle Brain-Trust that launched, and
catapulted, the 2015 FIMBA World Champions, Team
USA 60+ [Orlando, FL], the 2016 North American Champions
55+ [Buffalo, NY] and the 2016 FIMBA Pan-American 
Games, Team USA 55+ Champions in Costa
Rica.  And that's no laughing matter, my friends. 
He has, what can be characterized as a holistic perspective
of organizing events, and bringing people together, on a
grand scale. This man is the real deal, moving almost
anonymously, in stealth mode, through crowded
gymnasiums, and empty hotel lobbies, networking, 
footnoting contacts, and bringing people together to
be successful in whatever they touch together.  
Congrats to you Roger Larson.  You are the GM,
[and the MVP of room 26], of all GM's. Thanks for
all you bring to the table my friend...Your vision,
leadership, and professionalism is greatly appreciated.
                                           One of the Greatest Pep-Talks of All Time!!




        Oakland's Finest clocks 2nd Place in the 65+ Division





                    Brian Fuller [Tampa Stooges] takes Lahh Woods [Bedford] baseline.
             


Lahh Woods
[Bedford, 55+]
[NYC]
Population: 8.55 million
Bob & Fred...The Rucker Pro Story


 Tiny Archibald in
    attack mode.






G-Nate Archibald [Kings/Celtics]
G-Joe Hammond [Rucker Pros]
C-Kareem Abdul Jabbar [Bucks/Lakers]
F-Bernard King [Where's Brooklyn at?] 
F-Julius Erving [Squirers/Nets/76ers]

Just as I finish my statement, Brad slams on the 
brakes at a red light.  The check engine light flashes
and The Dictator slowly whispers, "That's a pretty
good five."   He immediately jumps in, rattling off
his teams as he reveals his whole cards with joy,
"Well I'm going with a three guard offense. We
might be small, but we are very fast!"

Greg Frost
[Bedford, 55+]
[Chicago]
Population: 7 million 723 thousand
Chicago Basketball with Isiah Thomas






Isiah works
his magic.




G-Isiah Thomas [Pistons]
G-Maurice Cheeks [76ers]
G-Ricky Green [Golden State/Utah/Bucks]
C-Terry Cummings [Clippers/Bucks/Spurs]
F-Mark Aguire [Dallas Mavs]

Brad Spice
[Bedford, 55+]
[Central Illinois]
[From Champain to Lawrenceville]
Population: 230 thousand





 Look out for
  The
Blab!




G-Shaun Livingston [Golden State]
G-That guy from Pioria, Ill who played at Emanuel HS
C-Uwe Blab, Effingham HS, Indiana State University
F-Marty Simmons State Class AA  University of Evansville  1984
F-Jay Shidler- NCAA Chip Kentucky, 2 HS State Chips
Possible 6/7th-Walter McCarty & Larry Bird [French Lick, IN]  

I ask them one final time, "And that's what your coming 
with?"  They both chime in with a resounding, "YES!!"
And Greg adds, "That's how we're rolling!"

Here are a number of All-City selections from various 
players from all over the nation.

Ruben "Shot-Gun" Britt 
[SportsPower USA, 60+]
[Boston, MA]
4 million 732 thousand 
Boston Hoop History by Bijan C. Bayne





     Jimmy Walker
   #1 Draft pick 1967






Jimmy Walker [Pistons/Rockets/KC Kings]
Willis Spider Bennett [ABA/Dallas Chaparrals]
Marshall Lewis [Scholastic H.S. All-American]
Russell Lee  
Roscoe Baker                                Spider Bennett
                                                                                          is in the house!
                                                                                                

James Payne 
[60+]
[Bay Area, Oakland, CA]
Population: 7.65 million



                                     Joe Ellis...
                               Smooth    
                              Operator    





[G] Joe Ellis [San Francisco Warriors]
[G] Joe Gardere [McClymonds HS]
[C] Bill Russell [Celtics]
[F] Leroy "Snake" Walker
[F] Paul Silas [Celtics]


Carl Roper
[SportsPower USA, 60+]
[Sacramento, CA]
Population: 2 million 458 thousand







                 Darnell Hillman
                        in flight mode.

                  

G-Ed Thompson
G-Carl Roper [Stanislaw State]
C-Michael Thompson [UCLA]
F-Edison Hicks
F-Darnell Hillman [ABA/NBA, Indiana Pacers]


Kevin Heller
[Team Victory, 60+]
[Brooklyn/NYC]



                         "Downtown"
                   Roger Brown     






G-Roger Brown  [ABA/NBA]
G-Dwayne Pearl Washington [Syracuse, Nets]
C-Kareem Abdul Jabbar [UCLA, Bucks, Lakers]
F-Connie Hawkins  [Globetrotters, Phoenix Suns]
F-Joe Hammond      [Rucker Pros]

Julio Davila
[Team Victory, 60+]
[Miami, FL] 
Population: 5.01 million

   Osborne "Oz"
       Lockheart at
            work.





G-Beaty Buck aka Shake N Bake
G-James Jones [Cavaliers]
C-Mike Thompson [Lakers]
F-Osborne Lockheart [Globetrotters]
F-Udonis Haslem [Heat]

Peter Wheatley
[Clearwater Aces, 70+]
[Ontario/Toronto] 
Population: 2.62 million




         Leo Rautins
       at the office. 




Nick Stoskis [76ers]
Corey Joseph [Raptors]
Tristan Thompson [Cavaliers]
Leo Rautins [76ers]
George Rautins [Niagra]

Stan the Ref
[NYC]
[50+]
Population: 8.55 million


     Walter
   "The Truth"
         Berry







Carlton Green [ Rucker Pros]
Joe Hammond [ Rucker Pros]
Nigel Wallace  [ Rucker Pros]
Artie Green [Marquette-Rucker Pros]
Walter Berry [Portland Trailblazers, Spurs, Nets]


Mike Campbell
[Clearwater Aces, 70+]
[Cleveland/Akron, OH]
Population: 2 million 772 thousand






Clark Kellog
Ohio Player.




Lebron James [Cavaliers]
Gus Johnson [NBA]                 
Franklyn Edwards [76ers]
Clark Kellog [NBA]                                 
Jimmy Stone [Providence]
                                                                                         
                                                            

Walt Finden
[Halifax, Nova Scotia]
[Golden Ward, 70+]
Population: 414 thousand 400




G-John Galena            1973 Saint Mary's University
G-Jona Tassic                    Halifax, Nova Scotia
C-Corey James      Walt said,"These were the best."
F-Brian Heeny
F-Micky Fox

Steve Nelson
[Director of MBA/Coral Springs, FL, 60+]
[Montclair/East Orange/Bloomfield, NJ]
Population: 157 thousand 450




      Kelly Tripucka
   
     The Jersey Bad Boy








G-Paul Lay [Seton Hall]
G-Mike Dabney [Lakers]
C-Seth Hillman [Howard University]
F-Kelly Tripucka [Pistons]
F-Todd Tripucka
G-Greg Tynes

Kevin Heller
[Team Victory, 60+]
Team #2
[NYC]



           Billy Paultz
        ABA/NBA
     "The Big Fella"






G-Chris Mullen [Golden State Warriors]
G-Pee Wee Kirkland [Rucker Pros]
C-Billy Paultz [NY Nets]
F-Albert King [NBA]
F-Lenny Elmore [NBA]

As many of you know, I am a writer.  I totally
enjoy the travel, and the witnessing of how
people live and love all over the world.  This
round ball with lines on it has a unique way
of bringing people together.  People from all
walks of life, for forty minutes at a time, can
share a common space and share a common
experience.  When the lights come on, and
the ball goes up in the air children are smiling
and babies stop crying.  Mothers and fathers
laugh and scream with every beat of their hearts.
Somehow, for the moment, folks don't have a
care in the world...other than their favorite team
getting some buckets, or their favorite player
playing some great defense all over the floor.
This hundred and something years ago, grand,
social experiment with the peach-basket,  
continues to build invisible bridges across 
many social class, and economic boundaries. 
People have expressed how much they "Love" 
basketball.  However, in reality what they mean 
to say is that they "Love" people.

                                 MBA Staff Photographer busy on the job.


               Ring Please: Looks like a 70+ Most Valuable Player

Now I've been hot on the trail of this basketball
story for a number of years.  I don't necessarily
have to play, but as long as I can get my eyes on
a good game I know that I can also get some
good stories to write about. 

One of my high school aged grandsons recently asked
me, "Baba, when you gonna' give-up playing basketball?"
My first quick thought was to tell him, "When you're
good enough to beat me in a one on one game, I'll retire."
I quickly run that statement through the "Lahh Woods
Strat-O-Matic Mental Computer System, comparing his
impressive 2015-2016 freshman year varsity stats vs my
last Master's tournament stats from Buffalo 2016 in March
...[Drum Roll Please....***!!] That would probably end my
playing career sometime this spring or summer {If I'm
Lucky}.  I smoothly shift gears, and attitude, and suggest
that I would only retire after he, and myself, would win a championship somewhere together.  He agreed with a big
smile and said, "That would be cool."


Julio Davila, one of the most prolific Masters Basketball
Players on the scene, racks up
yet another Championship and
MVP to his collection with a
MBA Title in the 60+ Division.
Julio's new club in the 60+ is called VICTORY and for them
to win a National Championship
right out the gate is nothing less
than INCREDIBLE!  Julio and I
were teammates on the USA 55+
squad at the 2016 Pan-American Games in Costa Rica, hosted by FIMBA.  We struck GOLD there
together [6-0].  I know for a fact he is an excellent teammate, and more importantly, this 'Bilingual Brother" is a stand-up man that
always had our backs.  Congrats!
Pas y Bendiciones

            All good events have good officials. Period. Glad to
     see the smiles on their faces...Most work almost as hard
                        as the players.


Masters Basketball Association Website


2016 MBA 50 & Over Champions
Bedford 50 from Ontario, Canada
Coached by Doug Combs aka Puffy

                          
2016 MBA 55 & Over Champions
Indy All-Stars from Indianapolis, IN
Coached by Doug Adams 





2016 MBA 60 & Over Champions
Victory
Coached by Julio Davila



2016 MBA 65 & Over Champions
Team USA
Coached by Doug Turner









                                     

2016 MBA 70 & Over Champions 
Clearwater Aces
Coached by Harry Carothers




2016 MBA 75 & Over Champions 
Peachtree Bank, Chadds Ford, PA

This 32nd annual assembly, the MBA National Senior
Championships were all that it was billed to be.
Organization. Facilities. Competition. Location.
Officiating. What more can be expected of an
event? So the bar has been set, the rings and photos
have been taken, and on all accounts everyone had
a good time.  I pray that all have returned to family
and loved ones safely.  Now begins the ongoing,
never-ending cycle of rest, training, practice, and
on the road again for the next competitive Master's
experience.  Where is the next event on your
calendar??  Somebody talk to me...ASAP! 
Please take a look at the Events page above, and
then holla at me so I can know where you're headed.  
Cool? Maybe...I'll meet your there, and we can win
one of these elusive chips together. 

Peace, Lahh   


*****UPDATES COMING IN 55 MINUTES...BLESSINGS

Image result for usa flag