Monday, September 28, 2015

Burlington Canada Masters Basketball 2015


  The 2nd Annual 
Burlington, Canada 
Masters Weekend 
September 24-27
Masters Basketball [4 Divisions]
Age 30 & Over/45 & Over/55+/65+
Burlington, Ontario or call 416-455-7767
Canadian Masters Basketball Website

This past weekend the New York Sugar 
Daddies ventured to tranquil, scenic, Burlington, 
Canada to compete, and respectfully represent 
our developing basketball network of players,
event promoters and supporters of the game.
For the moment...Let's just say it in latin, 
Translation: "We came...We saw...We almost conquered!"


              Peaceful, and picturesque, Burlington, Ontario

This weekend's great, border crossing,
adventure had it's high and low points,
and without a doubt the highs far
outweigh the lows...It's not even close.  

                                       Burlington Masters 55+ Action

In the  30 & Over Division there was
spirited action from first whistle to
last, as The Reapers from Milton, The
Thundercats from Mississauga and
the Evolution from Burlington ran
superb fast breaks, with excellent
perimeter shooting.  This competition
was far above average, although there
weren't many "bigs" on the court this
weekend.  Internationally, these clubs
could compete with any community
level team on the planet.  Good
ballplayers who can get to the rack
with relative ease and finish.  Word
of warning, if you come to compete
in the Burlington Canadian Masters
2016...Bring your "A Game" or don't
come up here at all. The competition
level up here is stellar! 

Toronto Attractions 

But let me back up a bit, and start this 
international hoop saga from the 
very beginning. Let's have a little fun... 
OK...Follow with me folks...

[1] Take out your precious, and valid passport 
[2] Put your red #4 mouthpiece in your mouth 
[3] Properly lace-up your kicks, and safely 
secure your jock and athletic cup 
[4] Carefully read the following passage, however, replace the word Hockey with the word Basketball.  Ok? Go!     

[a] The History of Hockey: Hockey has always been a dangerous sport, field hockey started out with villages "playing" against one another for a period of weeks at a time...Teams had hundreds of players and people 
                                        were hurt and some even died from
                                        their injuries.   
Surprising Facts about History of Hockey

Well we should all thank God that things 
have certainly evolved, and changed, 
in Hockey...
The periods are much shorter now.

What I am attempting to address, in my light 
humor, is the necessity for the standardization, 
and elevation  of safe play, and practices for 
each, and every one of the invitational adult 
masters basketball competitions.  Whether the 
location, of the tournament be Florida, Canada,
Buffalo, Indianapolis, Detroit, New York City, 
Medina OH, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta or Tokyo.

For the past few years, I have witnessed a 
measurable escalation in the E.O.P. at most, if not 
all, of the adult basketball competitions, and this is 
of great concern to me.  What is the E.O.P. you 
may ask?  The Element of Physicality.  Let's open 
the mature discussion of this critical factor of the 
game, and begin an orderly process of improving 
event and game management.

With the exception of those wise, and fortunate
members of our athletic community who are 
retired, many of us "weekend warriors" are 
limping into work today.  Or perhaps they 
are getting stitched-up at their local medical 
center after calling in sick, on this fine 
Monday morning.

                                  Petrol Station in Canada

Look, I'm from the South Bronx, I learned the
hard way what clean, physical play is or isn't. 
And I don't care if you're from Compton or 
Canada, everyone knows what a cheap shot is, 
and what it looks like.  So with that said, what 
are your thoughts on this critical issue in our 
community and how do we address it in a clear 
and orderly fashion?  Our physical recovery 
rate is not what it used to be, and how can we 
compete for two or three days when excessive 
contact, swinging forearms to the back, chest 
and ribs become the norm in plain view of 
the referees?
Notes on Aging Athletes 

                             The Haber Recreation Center

The 45 & Over Division was stacked with talent
a talent pool that was boiling with mobility, great
perimeter shooting and excellent ball-handling.
The talented teams in this division were The
Golden Boys from Toronto, The Bedford Team
from Toronto and the world famous Stooges Team
from Hamilton.  These clubs seemed to be very
familiar with one another. Some of these personal
match-ups had that kind of history that adds a little
fuel to the competitive fire.  One thing I learned
about Canadian Basketball...No one ever gives up.
It doesn't matter what the score is, the intensity
does not dissipate.  

                     Mural at the Haber Recreation Center

Friday Night
We watched a number of competitive games
played at a very high level from several of the
established divisions at the incredible Haber
Recreation Center in Burlington. Canadian
Basketball is on par with just about anything
coming out of the states or anywhere else on 
the planet. My observation is that Canadian
ballers play a physical/finesse style of play.
They are great ball handlers and not only
do they understand the game, they also
individually understand their roles.  Many
teams in the states are competing in a
basketball state of flux, game wise, not really 
knowing where they are going or how
they are going to get there.  I also witnessed
a high degree of camaraderie, from game 
start to game end. The Canadian game is
really no different than the American game
and here at the Burlington Masters it's 
being played at a very high level.




I personally didn't see many children or spectators 
in the stands.  However, there was a large assembly 
of skate boarders, preteen and teenage, in front of 
the gym building having a ball at the well designed 
skate park.  Skateboarding is big in Burlington.

The complex housed at least four to six 
gymnasiums, and is attached to the library 
and I believe a middle school for the town.  
The place looked brand, spanking new.  
Well lit. Well maintained. This multi-purpose
community recreation center in Burlington 
rivals any athletic structure in New York City.
Period. Including any major NY college; Lehman, 
John Jay, LIU, St John's, Saint Francis, Monroe,
Columbia, etc, etc, etc. Put that in your pipe 
and smoke it. No exaggeration folks...
Who wants to debate me?  You would lose.
Politicians, educators, parents, bankers, and activist
in the states should hang their heads in absolute shame.

     View from space of the Haber Center Recreation Campus
Virtual Tour of Haber Center

The 55 & Over Division was chock full of talent
with the talented and defensive minded
Team from Mississauga. The division also had
the Oldmobiles, who were defending home turf 
hailing from Burlington.  The New York Sugar 
Daddies with players traveling from Atlanta, 
GA, Binghamton, NY, Detroit, MI, and of 
course the NYC. Then there was the very 
strong and always solid LCI team, coached by 
my main man, and super-talent scout...
Doug "Puffy" Coombs representing Toronto 
to the fullest.  LCI is a major influence on the
international masters basketball scene, they are 
consistently finalist in every competition they 
participate in.  They have more championships 
than the New York Yankees and they always 
conduct themselves as professionals.  As we
continue to develop our basketball organization
the LCI international model points us in the 
proper direction.

I played decent [fairly well] on Friday evening, verses
a good club, from Mississauga, Canada.
It was my first time meeting three incredible masters
ballers, Herm "Rainbow" Harris aka the Ghost
of Bob McAdoo, McAdoo at work  and Bob "The Maestro" 
Mastro aka Dennis Johnson.   Dennis Johnson Highlights   
The third great player I met that fateful, September,
evening is a currently a nameless veteran who 
was generously lent to us by [our opponent] the player/coach.  This player could defend, 
score and pass.  Does anyone out there know his name? 
We had hoped to see him in a white
jersey again, but somehow he was not available,
or seen, for the rest of the weekend.

It was also my first time playing against the
notorious street-ball legend Conrad "Showbiz"
Davis.  CD was as crafty, and dangerous as I 
had heard he was.  At the tender age of 55+ he
can still light it up, shake and bake with the best,
and finish what he starts.  I tried to stay in front
of him the best I could, until help arrived.  He
and his team are a highly skilled group of
masters athletes.  After a see-saw score, we
finally separated from them with the efficient
barrage of buckets from "The Splash Brothers"
Herman Harris and Bob Mastro.  Splash Bros Remix

And of course I had my Sergeant at Arms, Head
Navigator, Chief of Security, and The Chairman
of the Boards...Lorenzo "Sky LoLo" Holloman
in the house.  Lo's rebounding and defense was
commendable and consistent.

                Lorenzo "Put me in the game coach!" Holloman

All of this took place after driving ten hours to 
Burlington, almost Sugar Daddy-less, with only one 
brave teammate riding navigator.  Madd Shout to
all of the brothers from NYC who fronted on going
to Canada.  Don't worry fellas, I won't mention any 
names, and put you on BLAST. [Hank, John, some 
guy named Dave, Disco Mike and E Harris for a
long history of this]  It's all good.  Madd Madd 
Shout to my Brother, Lorenzo Holloman aka Lo-
Rider, for coming out of retirement and traveling 
to Burlington to rumble on the ice with me. Who
said you can't skate?

After Friday's opening round competition, many 
of the players, family members, and tournament 
staff headed over to a local sports bar for dinner 
and drinks.  It was a great mix of fun and food,
and there was no shortage of spirited trash talking.
What is Trash Talking?       This gathering was a welcome 
contrast to the natural competitive intensity of 
Master's competition.

This was a great, informal, "meet and greet" 
and for the first time in years I had a chance to
sit and talk with many of the talented players
and coaches from the various organizations.  
The food was excellent and reasonably priced. 
The pitchers of Canadian Lager were light and
quite refreshing after a long drive and a hard
contested opening game.
Boston Pizza Restaurant 

                                 Lorenzo lighting it up in Burlington
Lo's Theme Song

Saturday Morning
Saturday morning we wake-up undefeated, and 
were competitive once again. We defeat the 
eventual 55+ champions L.C.I. led by the comedic 
and resourceful Doug "Puffy" Coombs.  So thanks
again to Doug, he helped us with some badly
needed players for the weekend. 

Much thanks to the Metro Detroit 65+, EZ Ed Morris,
Earl Dixon, Otis Whitehead aka Cornbread, with 
Brother Roy Smith...They inspire me.  They play so
smart and together with so much heart. I pray that I 
will be able to do what they are doing when I hit the
65 mark in my life.  These young men suited up and 
played great, inspired, basketball with the New  
York Sugar Daddies, almost undefeated, run for 
the 2015 Burlington 55+ Championship.  It was a 
honor to play with the mighty Detroit Metro Team.  
Not only did they eventually win the Burlington
Over 65 Championship, they were also crowned 
"FIMBA 65+ Champions of the World" this past 
summer at the 2015 Masters World Championships 
in Orlando, FL.


My MVP's for the weekend were Lorenzo, Herm,
and Bob...They had solid, monumental, games as 
we beat the mighty LCI by a two points, and at
that moment I could taste the sweet Canadian
Lager and I'm looking around  the gym for where
they're hiding that silver Stanley Cup that we're
going to have to declare at the border, when we
bringing it back to the states. We now have a
record of 2 wins 0 losses and are mathematically 
locked into the 2015 championship round.

Lahh's Theme Song
This game was particularly gratifying to me,
because it allowed me to perform with and
against some incredible athletes. Two of my
athletic dreams were fulfilled when [1] I was
able to steal the ball, take center court and
pass the ball to the Great, the Famous, the
Notorious, Earl "Chicken" Dixon who was
flying in the lane for a sweet finish at the
basket. In a flash I was transported back
to 1968, a time of bell-bottom pants and
8-track reel to reel players, when Earl was
in his athletic prime and above the rim ...
for one of his patented, famous, Chicken
Windmill Dunks. Earl's Theme Song
[2] To hit at least one critical free-throw
near the end of regulation and to glance
over to the LCI bench to get a good look
at the concerned, stern and serious, face
of the famous basketball Coach Doug 

Both games were tough, and there was "reasonable"
physical play. However, the now infamous game 3.
The game that we "didn't need to win." Is that
humanly possible? A game that we didn't need
to win...That still doesn't register in my mind.

All of a sudden the sweet, luke warm, comfort 
of the Canadian fall has evaporated, and a brutal
North American Noreaster sweeps through the
gymnasium. For the game analysis of game three, 
please refer to the above passage, coded in red
and you will have a good description of what 
took place.

This should not have happened.  This is not 

what adults travel hundreds of miles to endure.
In all fairness, others may have experienced 
something else.  My roommate Lorenzo loves
physical play, he delights at bodies crashing to 
the floor, and the throwing of elbows, and such. 
He doesn't mind a little blood on his jersey. He
uses a mouthpiece and shin-guards...I do not.
He told me, "Stop complaining, it's part of the
game!" And my all-time favorite, "Just go back
out there and do the same thing back to them...
Stop crying to the refs."  Wow...where is this
road leading us? Is this the path that we
really want to travel on?
Chicago Tribune take on Masters play 

                                   Motherland...Freedom!...Positive Community!..Unity!

What I experienced on the court in game 
three made it impossible for me to effectively 
compete in the championship game on Sunday.
These Oldsmobile guys, where obviously
good ballplayers, including my buddy Ted 
"The Bear"Laan  and coached by the
musical impresario Tony Mergel.  
Tony Mergel's Music 

I must have hit the floor a dozen times, please
anyone who witnessed the assault please
comment in at any time.

And to those veterans of many basketball
wars, who will tell you, "Calm down, 
it's part of the game...The refs are just 
letting us play." I personally disagree, 
I want to hear the refs whistle, it's sweet
music to my ears.  Yeah, call it tight! 
If I hit or bump someone blow your whistle.  
If I slap or knock someone down to the 
floor, blow your whistle loud and clear.
I want those flagrant and techs called.
What is a Flagrant Foul? 

[A message to "Mr Referee" and 
tournament producers all over the world...
Always make the games safe, because you 
can't always make it fair.  Fair is a relative 
term, and often impossible to deliver in the 
eyes of a visiting, or losing, team.

The two players that took turns cross 
checking me where obviously former
rugby and hockey players who happened 
to be in the neighbor hood at game-time. 
Where was the penalty box?  Where was
the plexi-glass divider, hockey gloves, and
the cold ice surface?  Where the hell was
the referees??  Forget the refs I was looking
for the Mounted Police and the rescue dog
with the barrel of rum around his neck. I
got clothes-lined and dropped to the floor
on a rebound and the ref called a double
technical foul.  Wow.  A double technical
foul. I politely asked the ref, what kind
of a [Bleeping] call was that?  His response
was a classic, pre-rehearsed, almost 
robotic comment, "It's becoming a wild 
situation out here, and I'm trying to clean 
things up!" Then he swiftly, and politely,
turned away from me and skated up to 
the other end of the ice.

One of my Canadian brethren was a perfect 
gentleman, almost a "Homey"...AFTER 
THE GAME.  I refused to shake his hand 
after the game and tried to walk right 
passed him, and my friend Tony Mergel. 
I was steaming hot, seeing red, and upset
with the world.  My new teammates focused
on the "big game" tomorrow and basically
told me to get beyond it.  They were right.
After I calmed down, and fired my 
navigator/enforcer/body guard, Lorenzo,
I had a moment with one of my below the
rim combatants.  We exchanged numbers.
I would love to hear his, or anyone's take
on this all too common issue.

Although, we win game 3 [3-0] that was the 
basic end of my competitive weekend. 
We finish the weekend 3 wins 1 loss, not
bad for a group of young men who played
basketball together for the first time.  I
sincerely hope that it certainly isn't the last.

Sunday Morning

We got a few hours of sleep after an incredible
tour of Toronto's nightlife, thanks to Jude Kelly
aka DJ JUDE.  He took us to Joe Mammas Bar 
& Restaurant    Joe Mammas Website 
We checked out an incredible live band 
there that was ready to be signed by
____________ [You fill in the blank] 
They were that good!  Toronto at night
almost has as many options as NYC!  Well...
they've got a hell of a lot going on in Toronto.
Go Raptors!! Raptors NBA

My man Jude Kelly is a quadruple threat...
[1] Ballplayer [2] Writer/Music Critic
[3] Tournament Organizer [4] DJ 
DJ Jude's PodMix 

So we had breakfast and get to the gym early to
watch LCI battle with Metro Detroit for the
65+ Burlington Championship. Early in the
game the lead was exchanged until late in the
period where Metro Detroit pulled away with
the strong low post presence of tournament
MVP EZ Ed Morris.

             LCI 65 & Over Team placed 2nd Place in 2015

In the 55 & over Championship it was LCI vs 
The Sugar Daddies.   LCI led from out the gate, 
and set the early score at 12 to 4 and never 
looked back. They hit perimeter shots, 
controlled the offensive and defensive boards.  
Played good defense and controlled tempo 
of the game setting up the sharp shooting of 
Mr Leroy Casanova.  

In the second half the Sugar Daddies closed 
the gap as Bob Mastro, Ed Morris, and Herm 
Harris eventually got warmed up. The NYSD
pulled within 7 or 8 points, before LCI
hit the gas one last time for a 10 point win.
For the Sugar Daddies it was too little...too late.  
Perhaps we'll get them next time, when we are
at full roster strength.  It was a great run while
it lasted.  Rick Greenwood was selected the 
Tournament MVP, he delivered the entire 
package...played good defense, hit perimeter 
shoots, and was quite the floor general I've 
heard so much about.  Congrats to Doug 
Coombs and Team LCI for a job well done.

See you at the next Masters Event and may 
all of your events and travel be safe and 
enjoyable. Blessings.  Lahh

With heartfelt thanks, and 
appreciation, to Pope Francis, 
and his entourage, it took us
over two hours just to get 
around and out of New York  
City on our way to Burlington.

Much thanks to the many phone calls 
and sacrifices made by the players, 
and opposing coaches, who where at 
Burlington this weekend assisting the
New York Sugar Daddies field a 
competitive team.

                                      TORONTO CANADA BY NIGHT

Madd Madd shout to the Burlington Tournament
Director, Jim Greeley for a job well done.  You've
got a gem of a program up here Jimbo, and we can't
wait to return to this incredible Master's experience.
Special Thanks to Jude Kelly aka...DJ Jude Kelly
for giving us the late night tour of TORONTO.
Toronto Night Life     We had a great time that night Jude, 
you truly know this city like the back of your
records.  We can't wait to see you live, rocking on
the one's and two's.  Hey Jude, we might have to set 
up a DJ battle with you and my Brother DJ Rokin Rob.  
DJ Rockin Rob    We cannot forget to thank Isaac Babaran aka"CCC" of the Coolest Cats in Canada!

 Many Thanks again to Ted "The Bear" Laan...

We met, battling on the court, at Detroit Masters 
2015, Ted and I stayed in touch. He accepted our 
invitation to participate in the 50th Anniversary 
of the Rucker Pros Tournament, held in Harlem,
NYC at the historic Rucker Park, Each One-Teach One.
Rucker Pros 50th Anniversary/Masters 3x3 

                                 "The Bear" and Lahh hanging out at Rucker Park 2015

Ted's "Team Canada" came  
in second place in the 55 &  
Over Masters 3x3 Games at
Rucker Park.  We all had a 
great time, so we had to 
come "Up North" to keep
the network alive. Perhaps,
Ted can bring another great,
competitive team from Canada 
participate in Rucker 2016.
The Sugar Daddies will be back in Burlington.  You
can believe that, and next time we're gonna' get our
hands on that shiny, silver, cup!
Hockey has always been a dangerous sport; field hockey started out with villages playing games against one another for a period of several weeks.  These teams had hundreds of players on them and the games were truly chaotic; people were injured and some even died from their injuries.  Today, when playing ice hockey players get hurt when they fall on the ice, when they are struck by the hockey puck; when they get hit by the metal or wooden hockey stick, and when they get into physical combat with other players.  The most common injury that hockey players endure involves the loss of one or more teeth; this is sometimes called “spittin’ Chiclets,” by hockey players since small, square pieces of Chiclet gum look like teeth. - See more at:
Hockey has always been a dangerous sport; field hockey started out with villages playing games against one another for a period of several weeks.  These teams had hundreds of players on them and the games were truly chaotic; people were injured and some even died from their injuries.  Today, when playing ice hockey players get hurt when they fall on the ice, when they are struck by the hockey puck; when they get hit by the metal or wooden hockey stick, and when they get into physical combat with other players.  The most common injury that hockey players endure involves the loss of one or more teeth; this is sometimes called “spittin’ Chiclets,” by hockey players since small, square pieces of Chiclet gum look like teeth. - See more at:
Hockey has always been a dangerous sport; field hockey started out with villages playing games against one another for a period of several weeks.  These teams had hundreds of players on them and the games were truly chaotic; people were injured and some even died from their injuries.  Today, when playing ice hockey players get hurt when they fall on the ice, when they are struck by the hockey puck; when they get hit by the metal or wooden hockey stick, and when they get into physical combat with other players.  The most common injury that hockey players endure involves the loss of one or more teeth; this is sometimes called “spittin’ Chiclets,” by hockey players since small, square pieces of Chiclet gum look like teeth. - See more at:

       Congratulations to the Stooges [Age 45 & Over Champs]

      Congratulations to the L.C.I. [Age 55 & Over Champs]

    Congratulations to Detroit Metro [Age 65 & Over Champs]

Much Thanks to the 2015 Burlington Tournament
Committee, table staff, announcers, and referees 
who produced a quality event at an excellent facility.
I predict that within the next three to four years the 
Burlington, Canadian Masters will grow and become
a "Major Masters" calendar event. 

Stay in Shape and Stay in Touch.  Peace.  Lahh
Visit Toronto Site 

Official 2015 Press Release


BURLINGTON – After four days of stellar competition, teams took 
home the hardware at the 2nd annual Burlington Canadian Masters 
Basketball Championships. Thirteen teams took part in action at 
the Haber Recreation Centre from Sept. 24-27, 2015.

The tournament is the only master’s basketball event in the Greater 
Toronto-Hamilton Area and featured teams for men aged 30 and over. 
Many of the players played professionally, while others were former 
all-stars at university or college.  In addition to local squads from 
Burlington, Hamilton, Toronto, Mississauga, Milton and Cambridge, 
clubs also came from New York and Detroit.

Below are championship game results:

30+ Division
Thundercats defeat Reapers (Milton) 80-75 in overtime. 
Jamal Douglas (Thundercats) MVP

45+ Division
Stooges (Hamilton) defeat LCI (Toronto) 75-58
Pete Ferguson (Stooges) MVP

55+ Division
Bedford Auto (Toronto) defeat Sugar Daddys 83-66
Ricci Greenwood (Bedford) MVP

65+ Division
Detroit Metro defeat Usetobes (Burlington) 76-41
Ed Morris (Detroit Metro) MVP

                            So in September 2016,
                     All Roads Lead North to...


Jude Kelly, (416) 951-1285


  1. Sounds like you need to get your weight up fella! If they're bouncing you around like that
    you have to fight fire with fire. Leave the refs out of it. Mano a Mano

  2. Come on. Are you trying to say that Canada is the only place where people play rough?
    Come off it.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. My friend. Respectfully. Did you read the article? It should be clear that my point is
    that this is not just a Burlington Masters issue...Physical play is also an issue on a national or international scale...including Major Masters events in Florida, Buffalo, Utah, Germany, Rome, Chicago, Indiana, Detroit, Brazil, or NYC for that matter.

  4. Perhaps an April 1999 article in the Chicago Tribune can shed some light on the
    international issue of Masters Basketball physical play...

    "The older you get, the more a player's speed and quickness start going," says 59-year-old Earl Cowell, who lives in Hinsdale. "So people start beating each other up."

    Physical play dominates the games. Pushing, shoving and grabbing replace defensive technique. And boxing out for a rebound has, on occasion, degenerated into a boxing match. Kevin White, 29, who referees Windy City Senior Basketball League games, says he ejected two players for fighting last year.

    Because the games also are played well below the rim, mastery of the fundamentals is essential to winning games. The league's players have done more to keep the pick-and-roll alive than anyone outside of the Utah Jazz's John Stockton and Karl Malone.

    Another winning strategy involves loading a team with ringers. Dennis Boston, 57, who is senior vice president of advertising at Ebony magazine, recruits with the skill of a Division I NCAA basketball coach. For the Windy City Shootout, a national over-50 tournament run by Brown and held at Washington Park every summer, Boston brought in 57-year-old Flynn Robinson, who played on the Los Angeles Lakers in 1972 when the team won the NBA championship.