Converse puts on for the Second City.
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
I got to meet Arthur Agee.
That might not mean anything to you, but for me, being someone who’s watched Hoop Dreams as many times as Above The Rim, I’ve come to revere the man as a legend. So when he walked into Sullivan Athletic Center at DePaul University for the inaugural The Chicago United Hoops Classic, the event officially went to another level.
In a game that featured some of Chicago’s top prep prospects from the West Side versus the South Side, the exhibition highlighted the true depth and breadth of talent within the Windy City. First off, they played this game at DePaul, where local legends like Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings, Quentin Richardson, Paul McPherson and Bobby Simmons all put on for the West and the South. DePaul was the city’s school, where the local legends took their game to the next level. So as the West defeated a game South squad in a 118-104 victory that wasn’t as close as the score indicated and with players having future destinations as far away as St. John’s (Phillip Greene, IMG) to staying at local universities like Northwestern (David Sobolewski, Benet and Mike Turner, University) Illinois-Chicago (Jerome Brown, Morgan Park, Greg Travis, Curie and Ahman Fells, Simeon) one thing is evidently clear…
Chicago will always put on for its city.
With the vision of Norm and Susan Van Lier, the marketing muscle of Converse, and a goal to focus on stopping inner-city violence, we’re looking at an event that will only grow with cache and will evolve into a great experience for hoopers, fans of the game, and Chicagoans who care about their city. It means something when Sweetness’ son (Jarrett Payton) comes into the building and engages with the kids and hoopers one in the same. It means something to see former Bulls legend Bob Love do the ceremonial opening tip, and current Bull Kyle Korver take photos with the young boys. It means something when Chicago Bears players like DJ Moore, Khalil Bell, and Jerry Azumah are chopping it up with the parents, talking about being a student-athlete and all. It means something to see Arthur Agee talking crazy to the prepsters and letting them know that he will still feed them buckets regardless if he’s closing in on 40. Why?
Because Chicago will always put on for its city.
Regardless if the kids stay home and hoop within the loop, or if they take their game halfway across the country, the Chicago-style will always be in them. You see it in Derrick Rose as he goes from right to left just as much as you see it in Dwyane Wade as he explodes to the rim. Its something that anyone can really appreciate. New York feels the same way about their players, so does Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Seattle. Dope kicks, good people, entertaining basketball, and all for a good cause? I’ll be back, Bryan Crawford will be back, Brian Lauvray will too. Come see us in the 312 in 2012, you won’t regret it.
Eddie Maisonet is a freelance sports writer, blogger and big time hoops fan from Oklahoma who currently resides in Cincinnati. Keep up with Eddie at SLAMonline as well as his blog Ed The Sports Fan and on Twitter.