Miles Rawls took over as commissioner of the Goodman League, held at the famed Barry Farms in Washington DC, in 1996. And ever since NBA talent like Gilbert Arenas, Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Bradley Beal and John Wall have been rolling through the park. With the family environment and quality basketball, Barry Farms has become a hotspot for DMV basketball. Playing at the park is a rite of passage.
Barry Farms is playing host to the Red Bull Reign World Finals this Friday and Saturday, with ballplayers from 14 other countries coming down to participate in a three-on-three tournament. The high-octane games are decided when a squad hits 21 points (or when time expires).
Rawls will be front and center this weekend, hopping on the mic to call the games at the tournament. We caught up with him beforehand to talk about memories of the park and what to expect at the games.
SLAM: You’ve been running Barry Farms and the Goodman League for a long time now. What are some of your favorite memories?
Miles Rawls: We played And1. We didn’t have no bleachers back then so people were standing around, climbing on fences, trees, trying to get a view the best way they could. They stopped on the parkway. That And1 game [was crazy] and then when Shaq came down and watched us play, those are my two fondest memories.
SLAM: What’s the craziest game you’ve seen in your 21 years?
MR: The one game, the best one-on-one duel, was KD and a guy from Baltimore we call P Shitty. KD had 62 and P Shitty dropped 46. That was one of the most memorable one-on-one duels. KD was in the League at the time, I think he was with Seattle when that happened.
I had a triple overtime thriller with Gilbert Arenas and half the Wizards team was playing on and some of my regular streetball guys that was out there playing. There are some fond memories that have taken place in these last 21 years.
SLAM: When did the NBA players start rolling through?
MR: When I took over it was still neighborhood-based. The outside guys didn’t really start playing until 2000. The talent deteriorated so I opened it up and started letting outside guys in. And then KD and them was coming in when they were kids. Him and Beasley, Ty Lawson. Then they continued playing when they got in the League. Then when Gilbert touched down, shoot, Gilbert was playing about three times a week. And he was bringing half the Wizards with him.
SLAM: Mike Beasley was unstoppable in high school.
MR: Oh yeah, even when they were in high school, him and KD were doing grown man stuff.
SLAM: For those who haven’t been able to make it to Barry Farms, what’s the atmosphere like?
MR: The park is like a cookout atmosphere when I run my tournament. It may not have that same feel for the 3-on-3 because there won’t be no grills and all that cooking. But the people will be in there so I’ll have ‘em turnt up. It’s like a cookout, family reunion, barbecue, comedy show mixed in with the good basketball.
SLAM: Sounds like there are gonna be some hecklers.
MR: Oh yeah, it’s up close down there. If you ain’t putting on a show, the fans get you. And then the guy on the mic, which is me, I’ll get you. They get it from all ends if they ain’t putting on no show.
SLAM: What are your expectations for the Red Bull Reign World Finals?
MR: That should be pretty good because it’s international. They’re coming from overseas and different parts of the country. It’s exciting. It’s gonna be a pretty good atmosphere for these two days.