Summer Time 2 Shine
Chicago has some pretty good summertime Pro-Am competition of its own.
by Bryan Crawford / @_BryanCrawford
With the NBA lockout in full effect, we’ve seen players compete in summer leagues all over the country and play in exhibitions all over the world. From stars competing in friendly’s in the Philippines, to the hot summertime action of the Goodman League, the Drew League, Dyckman, Rucker Park, the Melo League and any Pro-Am in between. Guys have been lacing them up any and everywhere, showing off their talents (for free) and connecting with basketball fans in the process.
Not to be outdone by these other leagues, Chicago has some pretty fierce competition in the summers as well and no summer league is as competitive as the Time 2 Shine Basketball League held every summer on the campus of South Suburban College, a JUCO located in South Holland, IL. From very humble beginnings and with the faith based diligence of league commish Mike Manson and his wife, Time 2 Shine has not only grown, but just completed its 12th season.
Rarely do summer leagues have such a lengthy run, especially one with no corporate sponsorships.
“It’s a blessing from God to be able to do this without anytime of sponsorship backing,” says Manson. “We started out in a gym so small that once you crossed half-court it seemed like you were already at the other basket. Now we’re in this facility and it’s just a blessing.”
The league is popular not only because of the level of talent, but also due to the immense popularity of “Jobba” and “Showtime” who are well known in Chicago basketball circles. They keep the crowd entertained by working the microphones and bringing a lighthearted vibe to what, as the league says, is very fierce competition.
The Manson’s credit a large part of the leagues popularity to Chicago native and NBA veteran Bobby Simmons – whose team has won the league for 7 consecutive summers. Simmons popularity in and around the city and the respect that he garners from his NBA peers has made Time 2 Shine a must catch summertime event.
Mike Manson has no problem listing the names of the pros that have participated in his league and it reads like an NBA Who’s Who.
“We’ve had guys like Bobby Simmons, of course, OJ Mayo, Gilbert Arenas, Antwon Walker, Andre Iguodala and Will Bynum come out and play. Derrick Rose has come out here, but he hasn’t played yet, he just sat in the stands. Usually the pros only come out for the playoffs, but when they do come, you can tell that the competition level really picks up,” says Manson.
The league has also featured local collegiate standouts like Jacob Pullen (Kansas State), Maurice Acker (Marquette), Jerel McNeal (Marquette), Billy Rush (Robert Morris – IL) and Stefhon Hannah (Missouri).
But it’s also not just about basketball as faith plays an important part as well. Before each and every game, competing teams gather at half-court, the music stops and everyone joins in for prayer. It’s a testament to the foundation that this league was built upon and the underlying theme that God is first above all.
Time 2 Shine along with the West Haven Safe Summer Basketball League held at Phoenix Military Academy on Chicago’s West side are absolute must-see events for summertime Pro-Am basketball in Chicago. If you come to check out a game at either one of this league’s, you’re not only guaranteed to catch some competitive and fun basketball, but if you like to “star watch,” you never know who you might see.