A Houston landmark for basketball legends is opening its doors to the next generation of basketball greats when high school students hit the court for the Fonde Hall of Fame Games this weekend, January 3-4, 2014.
The Fonde Recreation Center is known as one of the premiere pickup basketball courts in the country, and its Hall of Fame includes players like Clyde Drexler, John Lucas, Hakeem Olajuwon, Calvin Murphy, and Moses Malone.
Former NBA star and head coach Jon Lucas is the creator of the Fonde Hall of Fame Games. His vision was to create a fundraiser to help his program, “From the Parks to the Pros.” He started the project last year (2012) in partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
Mr. Lucas uses basketball to help children both on and off the court. His platform not only helps to propel the next superstars, but also teach them life skills. “I want kids to not only learn the skills of the game, but also be better men in life,” Lucas said. “I teach the kids conflict resolution, respect for themselves and others, self-discipline and responsibility. These character traits will help them be successful in life.”
The Hall of Fame Games feature high school teams from Texas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The tournament starts on Friday, January 3rd with the Otto Moore Legends Game with SOYL Academy and Westbury Christian High School at 1:30pm. Episcopal High School and Trent International High School will play at 3:30pm in the “Major Jones Legends Game.” The “Purvis Short Legends Game” puts Bellaire High School against Kinkaid High School at 6:30pm. The “Rickie Winslow Legends Game” ends the day with St. John’s High School facing Rufus King High School at 8:30pm.
Day-two (Saturday January 4) tips off at 1:30pm with the “Dave Lattin Legends Game” where Trent International High School will face Bellaire High School. SOYL Academy squares off with Episcopal High School in the “Elvin Hayes Legends Game” at 3:30pm. The “Calvin Murphy Legends Game” with Trinity High School and St. John’s High Schools at 6:30pm will be carried LIVE on Comcast SportsNet Houston. The finale will be the “Moses Malone Legends Game” where Rufus King High School will face Yates High School at 8:30pm LIVE on Comcast SportsNet Houston.
The namesake of each legends game will be present when their team hits the hardwood, and will make a special presentation to the players at halftime. Hall of Fame player Calvin Murphy spoke on the Rich tradion of basketball at the Fonde Rec. Center. “Texas is known for its great football but we have some great basketball players here as well. I’m glad to be apart of an event that showcases the next generation of talent.”
Murphy recalled his first time playing at the center. “I still had to prove myself even though I was in the NBA,” Murphy said. “ There is rich tradition at the center and glad that we can expose these kids to its history.”
These high schools include some of the top players in the state and the nation. The marquee players include JC Washington (Yates HS), Melvin Swift (Yates HS), Jeff Roberson (Kinkaid HS), Christian James (Bellaire), Jamal Williams (Episcopal HS), Ricky Doc Nelson (Episcopal HS), Ibrahim Dumbia (Trent International HS), Malik Starks (Trent International HS) and Galen Robinson (Westbury Christian HS). Myles Turner from Trinity and St. John’s Justise Winslow are both nationally ranked by ESPN. Turner is second in the nation while Winslow holds the 14th spot. The top players from SOYL Academy include Mamadou Kamara and Quemah Gibson along with Chris Howell who is a standout for Rufus King.
Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased at the door or online at www.johnlucasenterprises.com.