Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 2:37 pm  |  26 responses

Trip’ Aces

Brian “Smokin’ Aces” Kortovich is coming up the hard way: on concrete and asphalt.

by Joseph Vecsey

Brunswick High School (Ohio) graduate, Brian “Smokin’ Aces” Kortovich, is the newest up and coming basketball player in New York City. He’s got a jump shot that looks good even when he misses (which is rare), a handle, great passing skills and he plays team ball. Basically, he plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Over the past few years, he’s been balling in leagues and tournaments throughout the city, and putting up numbers while doing it. Among the tourneys, he plays at the EBC at Rucker Park, West 4th street, Kingdome, Dyckman and Nike Pro-city at Hunter College.

Did I mention he’s white?

There are not too many white ball players in the city right now that you can catch at all those different tournaments— aside from a few, like Donnie McGrath, who’s been making quite a name for himself on the asphalt and overseas. Aside from the occasional exception, though, It’s never easy for a white guy to make a name for himself in streetball. Especially when you’re a white kid from Cleveland, Ohio.

Brian attended Cuyahoga Junior College in his hometown where he averaged 17 points and 6 assists while starting at the point. While there, he also lead all of Juco in three point shooting. From Cuyahoga he transferred to Manhattan College. On a full ride and with ambitious hopes, Brian ended up suffering a few injures that kept him from doing the damage he was capable of. After graduating, Brian ended staying in New York, finding work as phone clerk assistant to a broker on Wall Street. Figuring once he was in the Mecca of basketball he could use the opportunity to make a name for himself in the epicenter of the basketball world, Brian worked hard at his job, and even harder at basketball.

After struggling to find tournament teams to play on, Brian finally found one. Not too long after, he earned his moniker at the legendary Rucker Park, scoring 31 against the talented White Chocolate. The MC, Hannibal, gave Brian the nickname “Smokin’ Aces”Brian Kortovich after showing off his deadeye three ball stroke. He had now earned the right for the announcers to stop calling him Nick Lachey—a nickname they clowned him with in previous games. Not done there, Brian also went on to win the three point contest at Dyckman. After running in all these leagues and tourneys for two short years, Brian practically knows everyone in the basketball world. That’s what happens when you can play ball and reside in New York.

Since gaining exposure in the Big Apple, Brian has gotten the opportunity to play overseas in Kuwait, France and Italy. But being from Ohio, even though he knows playing overseas pays the bills, Brian still may appreciate playing at parks like Rucker more.

“I always heard about the Rucker so playing there meant a lot,” says Kortovich.

All the networking and big games in summer leagues are really starting to pay off for Brian. Recently, Brian got invited to a New York Knicks workout. While there, he ended up shooting the lights out. According to Brian, Donnie Walsh and Coach Mike D’Antoni were impressed with his shooting and told him he was on their radar. Brian hopes to get invited to training camp or possibly a summer league next summer. Until Brian goes back overseas or possibly lands somewhere better, you can catch him constantly working out at Chelsea Piers Sports Club, and hooping in tournaments  around the city.

So far the work he’s put in has paid dividends, as Brian recently signed a deal with the K1X. From unknown Juco baller to endorsed professional, Brian’s doing bigger and bigger things with the rock, proving once again that hard work pays off.

For more information about Brian or to see some videos of his skills, log onto www.BrianKortovich.net.

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  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    Nice story! Sounds like an every day dude smoking cats at the park. Although it sounds cool that DonnieWalsh and D’Antoni were impressed, that’s just talk. A LOT of ballers have been told that people would give them a chance but until something is signed, it’s just talk.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    niQ:A LOT of ballers aren’t getting invites to New York Knick workouts. Great story. Keep grindin, Brian.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    By the way, is Joseph Vecesy the Viper Junior?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I saw that ‘Vecsey’ last name and wondered the same thing.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Yes, this is Pete’s son. This is probably the sixth or seventh story he’s done for the site…hopefully more coming in the future.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I won’t be impressed until I see Charley Rosen’s offspring crossing over. J/K. Great story, Joesph.

  • Agent 87

    Feurs is just in french 3rd division : still a gap with playing in the NBA.
    Nice story though

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Didn’t really have to mention he was white given the fact that he was described as a team player, smart and somebody who plays the right way.
    That’s pretty much code for white anyway.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    But, interesting story.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Allenp:Lol. I thought the picture gave it away.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I knew from his last name he was white.

  • http://sevendeu2u.wordpress.com/ Seven deuce

    damn that’s like a dream story, best of luck to him!

  • http://twitter.com/NotebookNick thesubwayconnection

    And, although Allenp didn’t mention it, I don’t think there’s many dudes that aren’t of Caucasian descent with a last name of Kortovich.

  • http://www.mynameinblue.blogspot.com Hisham

    he could’ve been, you know, adopted.

  • Jax

    wow he has the most uninteresting, unimpressive highlight videos I’ve ever seen…dang Joseph–you should learn to do yer homework before doing a story on a dude with no game

  • Bob Dobolina

    Jax: No love for the step-back 3s?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    No what, I read the story again, and I got another issue. It reads:
    There are not too many white ball players in the city right now that you can catch at all those different tournaments— aside from a few, like Donnie McGrath, who’s been making quite a name for himself on the asphalt and overseas. Aside from the occasional exception, though, It’s never easy for a white guy to make a name for himself in streetball. Especially when you’re a white kid from Cleveland, Ohio.
    I’m wondering what this graph is really saying. That white kids don’t get shots when it comes to streetball? Or that there aren’t many good white streetballers?
    One seems true, the other is not. Can’t tell which idea this article is pushing.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    I think it’s the latter.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    If it’s the latter, then the whole point about the players being white is well, pointless.
    If you aren’t good, then it’s hard for you to make a name for yourself period.
    Honestly, I would imagine that a white dude with talent would find it easier to get noticed in a league full a black people with talent. You would kind of stand out.
    But, I’m only basing that on my experiences watching the NBA.

  • Ebbz


  • Gary

    Brian is an impact player. I’ve seen and played with him. His style of ball would fit nicely with the Knicks.

  • ard

    Is he Russian or Ukranian? If so, he’s not just “white”. That’s like saying Dominicans and Ricans are the same. Russian culture and American culture are often very different.

  • ard

    By the way, if you are a good bball player and you happen to be white in NYC, you are blessed. For one, you stand out and if you’re really something special, you’re on everyone that matters radar.

    The truth is a lot of white kids would be intimidated to play at the Rucker, etc. which never made sense to me. How the hell can you show you’re one of the best if you don’t play against the best? But a lot of white kids in this country are raised to avoid areas where a lot of black people congregate, sadly.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    In Soviet Russia, ace smokes you!

  • Bobby Rican

    I’ve known brian since i was like 5. he was my cousins neighbor and freind growing up… i remember his grad party when i was shooting hoops in his front yard when he was shooting 3s from his front steps (35ish feet away). he made like 15 in a row. hes disgusting… GOOD JOB BRIAN