Residents of “Harlem, USA” have always taken basketball seriously! They are not only keen observers of the finer nuances and attributes of the game but also astute critical admirers of skill and talent. Through the decades, Harlemites have been renown for its knighting players. There’s Julius “Dr. J” Erving, Joe “The Destroyer” Hammond, and Herman “Helicopter” Knowings, to name a few. So, over the July 24 th, 25 th, and 26 th weekend, Harlemites and guests will mingle, rub shoulders and talk shop with the players and personalities who’ve made Harlem the “Basketball Mecca of the World”!
The RHBP organization is a group of former and present Harlemite basketball players, who have joined hands to assemble local “Legends” who have, for well over 60 years, contributed to the excitement and innovation in basketball—not just in Harlem but in the entire country and throughout the world.
Most of the organizing group’s members are not only former players who have competed at various levels in basketball and attended college but they also possess the organizational skills, vision and commitment to make The 2nd Annual Real Harlem Basketball Players Reunion a success.
The unique style, innovation and creativity of African-American players are, without the slightest doubt, originally inspired by Harlemites. As far back as 1923, a Harlem businessman, Bob Douglas assembled a team of basketball players, then known as The New York Renaissance, a.k.a., The Rens. The team’s home games were played at the recently demolished Renaissance Ballroom, 139th Street & 7th Avenue. The Rens were so successful that several well-established and reputable teams, of that era, refused to play them.
One of the Rens premier players, John Isaacs, was recently elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. What makes this honour even more significant — Mr. Issacs played his entire career during the years when black players were banned from playing in the white ABL and NBA leagues. Since then, Harlem has produced more college and professional basketball players than any other single community in the world!
In recent times, the famous Rucker Professional League and the Entertainers Basketball Classic, playing outdoors in the summer months (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) at 155th Street & 8th Avenue in Harlem, are household names to basketball lovers in Australia, China, Turkey, and the Ukraine, to name a few. In the viewers’ stand, visitors from France, Italy, Germany, Greece and Harlemites sit together in total awe of the creative performances of the players! In recent years, it has become—for international basketball lovers—a frequently visited tourist attraction.
More than 500 former players and 5,000 fans are expected to attend this outdoor event honouring Harlem’s basketball legacy and the contributions made by players who have sparked our imaginations, inspired us to dream and made our fantasies fly. They have given us some of the most thrilling moments in our lives! Names like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Chamberlain, Butch Lee, Joe Hammond, Pee Wee Kirkland, Satch Sanders, Cal Ramsey, Bob McCullogh, Freddie Crawford and Jamaal Mashburn will stand alongside players Tank Barnes, Calvin Whitworth, Earl Wingate, Tony Meggett, Dave Britton, Leroy Shaw, Ronnie Wright, Harvey Young, Mike Pyatt and many more, too numerous to mention!
Several generations of “basketball legends”, who have enjoyed varying degrees of success, and who are known and respected by the Harlem community—the most knowledgeable and opinionated basketball fans in the world!—will be at the Reunion. Harlem basketball fans have seen it all, and, they can tell you all about it! In addition to “the gathering of eagles”, scheduled are Live-Music performances, a Photo Gallery Exhibition, a reservation only “Awards Dinner Under-the-Stars” and a to-be-announced weekend entertainment program, hosted by a celebrity master of ceremonies.
The long-term goal of the Real Harlem Basketball Players Reunion is to establish a fund that would enable financially challenged members of the basketball community access to medical care or burial assistance. A secondary goal is to install programs, hosted by our valuable and experienced basketball “Legends”, that would help our basketball playing youth avoid the pitfalls and obstacles to success.
Donations will assist us in making the 2nd Annual Harlem Basketball Players Reunion a success. It will help us to stabilize the future of Harlem Basketball. It will help us to support our financially challenged mentors and role models. It will enable us to establish mentoring programs for our Harlem youth.
Donations can be made through PayPal or to: YES Inc. • Memo: Real Harlem Basketball Players • P.O. Box 143 • New York, New York 10037
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Real Harlem Basketball Players