Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 at 3:32 pm  |  22 responses

Harlem Nights

What’s going on at the storied Kingdome Tournament?

By Matt Caputo

While the rumors of handgun violence are slightly exaggerated, Harlem’s Kingdome Classic is definitely experiencing homicidal tendencies. The Kingdome Classic is Harlem’s oldest tournament and arguably the most popular pro-am on the New York City circuit this summer. Damon Dash has taken over the event and cross-promoted it in ads and apparel from his line of PRO-Keds this year, giving the games a boost in exposure. Amid mild controversy and hellish heat, the tournament continues on to entertain the Harlem residents and help the city’s elite ballers keep their games tight.

“There are some politics going on right now, they’re trying to stop the games,” says Corie Underwood, a journeyman big man from Queens running with Team K1X. “But this is the best tournament running right now. The NBA guys know it. Everyone knows about it, the word gets around the city somehow.”

On the first night of the tournament there was a shooting on Lenox Avenue that some believed was related to one of the games played earlier that night, the tournament’s kickoff. However several players and fans say the shooting happened far from the tournament and way after everyone had gone home. While many still speculate, the facts aren’t 100 percent apparent.

The one concrete truth about the Kingdome Classic is that it is entertaining. “I come here to be with my family and watch the games,” says David Valez a 14-year-old King Tower’s resident. “I like to see guys dunking on each other, breaking their ankles and stuff.”

Aside from the alleged violence, the majority of the shooting is being done on the courts. It would be hard to do a story about Kingdome this summer without mentioning the tournament’s most popular player.

Corey “Homicide” Williams doesn’t play in the NBA. Aside from that, he’s the most well-known player to come down to Kingdome this summer. Even with cameos from Damon Dash and rumors that Ron Artest and David Lee would be uptown this summer, Homicide (who SLAM readers may remember from last year’s issue of Streetball) is by far the star of the league. After picking up a D-League title with the Dakota Wizards this spring, he is once again poised to attempt to make an NBA roster.

“I like playing out here just for the simple fact that I can do pretty much what I want,” says Homicide, 29, and now working in the Vegas Summer League with the Warriors. “It’s just that simple for me.”

And he’s not just saying that. Others are taking notice of Homicide, who is on the top of his game. K1X signed him to an endorsement deal and he’s working towards releasing his own shoe, the 187. The large crowds in attendance on the cement bleachers go crazy each time Homicide touches the ball. The day after we speek in Harlem, Homicide played in another tournament and gave Boston Celtics guard Allan Ray 25 points in the first half before Ray got dressed and left at halftime. Two days later, Homicide joined the Warriors in Las Vegas.

“Nobody can guard him. They try and guard him and nobody can get near him. The number-one, best player in streetball right now is Homicide” says “Taz,” Kingdome’s resident courtside commentator. “He’s got a championship in the NBDL. What does he have to do to get to the next level? He should be in the NBA right now. I call him ‘The Funeral’ because he’s always killing somebody in the park. Today he had 30 and he took the day off.”

While it’s understandable that residents and community leaders would like the Kingdome Classic officials to run a cleaner show, it’s hard to see what’s not to like. People come, police patrol, games are played and everyone is home before dark. While it would be unfortunate if there were a link between the tournament and tragic shootings on Lenox Avenue, there doesn’t appear to be one. Players like Homicide advancing from the playgrounds to the fringes of the NBA only shows evidence that the only shooting going on at Kingdome is of a positive nature.

“There are a lot of other things that go on here, too many other things, that’s why they’re trying to put a stop to these games,” says Homicide, who had his mother in attendance. “Somebody got shot, they said (it was people who) was coming out of here, but at the end of the day, this is some of the best basketball in New York.”

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  • corey

    Nice article, hopefully we get people to stop the violence and keep the peace, its the best tournament in nyc so lets keep it going

  • Atrain

    Someone has to pick up Homicide this year

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    Never heard of homicide but now I want to see him in a NBA jersey next year going with the best. play wit it.

  • Chukaz

    I didn’t read the article because it had to do with Homo-stuff. You probably did a nice job, so congrats. I’m just lettin’ everybody know I’m back.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyNMz_LxEoA Boing Dynasty

    Homicide is very good at what he does. Which is dribble at the top or the key really low to the ground, untill he gets his defender leaning 1 way, and barrels to the rim the other way, often times with his head down, for a lay-up with a oddly low release point. If he ever player a season in the NBA, im putting my money on him leading the league in shots blocked and charges. Nice dude though.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whyberickjames Greased Up Deaf Guy aka Clay Davis

    dp has never heard of homicide, hmmmm he must be playing with it too much…….was underwood in the dleague? i know he was in slam

  • http://www.king-mag.com Matt Caputo

    Underwood ran in the ABA last year in Arkansas with Kareem Reid.

  • http://myspace.com/streetballacademy SBA

    SBA was at the game against Allen Ray… we witnessed the match up… lets just say Corey got the best of Allen that day

  • http://yahoo.com DP

    LOL! That actually made me laugh Clay. play wit it.

  • hooper

    let’s clear that up allan ray had 15 @ half before he left and got scored on by him 2 times homicide couldn’t stay in front of aray causing him to shoot 7 freethrows in 1 half. Come on slam get the facts straight. And mind u allan ray is a jumpshooter he hit no jumpers. Homocide did not have no damn 25 @ half. Maybe 10 or 12. He started scoring after he left

  • http://www.slamonline.com Pierre Uptown Brown

    Kingdome is like a hidden treasure. While the entire city is watching baaseball or arguing over the Yankees and Mets, these cats are playing some really tough ball. I grew up playing ball and I live in the city. When I heard who was playing I went up there. Living in NYC, I see a lot of people utilizing a lot of public or free art shows, like dance, music and fine art. It’s time for the basketball community all over the country to get behind their local sports organizations or sports culture will die. Become Sportscenter.

  • Big DS of InsideStreetball

    Matt, let’s get it straight. The shootings had nothing to do with the Kingdome. There has never been a shooting at the tournament & if you went to a game there you would see that not only does the Kingdome have security, there are at least 10 NYC police officers at the games. You’re more safe @ the Kingdome than any other tourney, including W4th & Hunter College. Journalists like you should get the facts and not slander streetball with half truths. The rumors of handgun violence at the kingdome are totally unfounded. I think that the artistic license that you used to write this article is unfair. I challege you to go to a game at the kingdome & then write about it. Have you been to a game there this year? Rumors like this are why the games have to stop @ 8 p.m. Why don’t you write about that & why they don’t have a permit to play music when the EBC does.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Sammy

    Hey Big DS, Matt wasn’t saying that there were shootings. He was saying that’s what the police were trying to say. And from what I know Matt has been to the kingdome this summer. Knowing Matt personally he is not one to jump to conclusions about any violence at these games. And the article clearly states
    “While the RUMORS of handgun violence are slightly exaggerated” and “the first night of the tournament there was a shooting on Lenox Avenue that some BELIEVED was related to one of the games played earlier that night, the tournament’s kickoff. However several players and fans say the shooting happened far from the tournament and way after everyone had gone home.

    All I am trying to say is that not once did Matt say that the shooting had anything to do with the tournament.

  • Big DS of InsideStreetball

    Then why did he mention the shootings and the violence if it had nothing to do with the tournament?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Sammy

    Because he’s a journalist. It’s his job ya know. He’s actually trying to imply that the shootings had nothing to do with the game.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whyberickjames Greased Up Deaf Guy aka Clay Davis

    im not reading those paragraphs

  • Jay

    What’s the big deal with this guy Homicide, come on his time is done. The man is 30years old alredy give it up, and pass the ball to kids like Kason “Sunny side Up” Mims. Follow him and ya’ll see what i mean.

  • Lady Sam-O

    Quite frankly I’m sick and tired of the rumors. Of course anyone outside of our community, circle and fans would have something NEGATIVE to same about something that has been a success for the past 23 years and the success is from a minority person. Help me out here, how do you associate and incident whether tragic or not with a tournament that ended 3 hours prior to the incident 10 blocks or more away? In 23 years there has never been NOT 1 COMPLAINT filed with the local police depts. in the entire area.

    Not only are they (the 28th PRECINCT) trying to change the tournament, taking away something that is important to the essence of the entire league by stopping the music completely, they haven’t even came up with a valid LOGICAL reason as to why a permit was not granted to the KBC this year.

    However do they mention the positives that the KBC brings like how quite a few players over the years have been accepted to the best D-1/D-2 colleges and the NBA? Of course they wouldn’t recognize that! Why would they?

    And they wonder why people don’t like to respect the rules. It’s sad, it’s sickning, BUT IT’S POLITICS..better believe they will NEVER get my VOTE!

  • funkalot

    The Kingdome has replaced Greg Marius’s EBC at Rucker park, as the favorite Summer run for streetballers,pros.college players, rising high schoolers and the celebrity following.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plcAoLBoTr4 Pistol Pete Incarnate
  • http://nil loomyD

    that’s very bad to get somone shut!!!!!!!!!
    END THE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • martines