Street Legends league to begin on Saturday
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jun 12, 2013
Arguably, the most comprehensive 10-week period in the country, as it relates to basketball, is about to tip off as the Street Legends Basketball Organization prepares for its summer extravaganza.
Season Four of the organization’s community basketball league, sponsored in part this year by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Urban Renewal, will get underway this coming Saturday evening with five games on the schedule over at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. The league will run from June 15 - August 30, switching venues from the national gymnasium to the various constituencies in New Providence, to the A.F. Adderley gym, and then finally back to Kendal Isaacs Gym. The games will get underway at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“We are pleased to be here this morning and we just look forward to an outstanding summer of Street Legends basketball,” said Streets Legends President Wilton Russell at the official launch of the event. “This year, the league is being held in memory of the former minister for sports, Charles Maynard. He was a visionary leader and we are honored to salute him in this way. The theme, ‘Bridging the Gap’, was his concept. He supported our cause from day one, and there was no one more fitting to be recognized by the league this year.”
The league, which is based on the concept of constituency vs. constituency, will be divided into four divisions this year - an open division, junior boys and junior girls divisions, and a new baby legends division for youngsters aged 5-7 and 8-11. The Hope Strachan Sea Breeze Blowers are the defending champions in both the open and junior boys divisions, and the Furniture Plus Rockers will be defending their title in the junior girls.
Representing the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson at the press conference was the Director of Sports Timothy Munnings. Munnings said that in the ministry they thought that it would be only fitting to expand their partnership with the organization this year based on the recent crime wave that has swept through the nation.
“Our young men are seemingly going to war with each other, but it is our hope that the Bahamian young men go to battle on the courts. Let’s take this country back through sports,” said Munnings. “This is an important part of developing our young men and we are very happy to be a part of this process. To make our country safe again is the nation’s fight. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we look forward to an exciting tournament.”
On behalf of Urban Renewal, Inspector Anthony ‘Cops’ Rolle said that they want to congratulate Russell for his hard work in bringing the tournament to fruition, and for maintaining a very high standard.
“The commissioner of police speaks to positively engaging our youth and this is an example of that,” said Rolle. “We endorse any entity that has any positive involvement of our young men, especially during the summer months when most of them are sitting idly by. With that in mind, we are happy to partner with the Street Legends Organization in this venture.”
The league is also sponsored in part this year by Furniture Plus which has been there from the first season, Vitamalt, BahamasLocal.com. BTC, the Royal Bank of Canada, SkyBahamas, Coca-Cola and Galleria Cinemas just to name a few. Furniture Plus Manager Thomas Carey said that they are always pleased and happy to be a part of the program.
“It’s community oriented and we believe in giving back to the community,” he said. “We are always looking for positive things to be a part of, and we don’t think there is a better program than this to be a part of at this particular time. We want to say thank-you to the organizers for considering Furniture Plus and we look forward to being a part of this organization again in the future.”
Stacy Mackey, the Brand Manager for Vitamalt, said that she is looking forward to an exciting and competitive tournament.
“Anything that focusses on positive activities for the young men should always be encouraged, so we are happy to partner with Street Legends in this venture and we look forward to en excellent tournament,” she said.
Representing the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF), secretary general Clifford Rahming said that they have a responsibility to ensure that basketball is being played all over The Bahamas, so they have no problem in offering their sanction for the event.
“Our responsibility is to have basketball being played in every island in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and in this case, every constituency,” said Rahming. “We take a lot for granted in New Providence, and to a certain extent Grand Bahama, where there are a number of courts for the youngsters to play on, so I’m happy to see that there is Family Island involvement in this tournament. The Family Islands don’t have the same facilities as New Providence and Grand Bahama, so we are happy to know that through this effort, the Family Islands will be involved. It is an excellent concept, and we look forward to a wonderful tournament.”
The Family Island teams will arrive in the capital for the final week of the league this year, and the team which emerges from that group when combined with Grand Bahama, will play the winning team from New Providence for the overall title on August 31. There will be four districts in New Providence - east, west, north and south. There will be about six to seven teams in each district, and each district will have a championship, similar to a ‘Road to the Final Four’ format.
Officiating the games will be officials from the New Providence Association of Basketball Officials (NPABO).
“On behalf of the New Providence Association of Basketball Officials, we are happy to have been chosen to officiate these games,” said Head Official Randy Cunningham. “We have about 32 new officials and they are looking forward to being a part of this tournament and calling these games. It should be very challenging but we are looking forward to a great tournament.”
Once again, the 10-week league will tip off at 6 p.m. on Saturday over at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. The league will move to the Centreville constituency for Week Two. St. Cecilia’s for Week Three, Carmichael for Week Four and South Beach for Week Five. It will conclude on August 31 with the championship games in all divisions.