Before the second annual Bradley County Parks and Recreation All-Star Basketball Tournament tips off tonight, fans and players will hear from a former Harlem Globetrotter.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 this evening in the Ocoee Middle School gym with the introduction of the players from each team, followed by special guest speaker Paul "Showtime" Gaffney, who spent 15 years playing for the Globetrotters.
With 36 years of experience in the sports industry, “Showtime” is a member of the AAU’s Future Leaders Committee. He has a bachelor of science degree in business management from Tennessee Wesleyan College and has been inducted in the Tennessee Wesleyan College’s and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame … He Knows The Journey.
The public is invited to attend the event with gate prices set at $3 for adults and $2 for children.
After speaking to the kids, “Showtime” will participate in a special coaches’ game at 7 p.m. before the actual tournament games tip off.
Three players from each Bradley County and Cleveland school team were selected to participate and were “drafted” by the event’s coaches, with none of the players from the same school placed on the same tournament team.
“The idea of this tournament is to take city kids and county kids and intermingle them on teams,” explained event coordinator Bartlee Norton. “There are 17 total schools within the Bradley County recreation department leagues. These kids have played against one another in the leagues, but the idea of this event is for them to be able to play with one another.”
There are four divisions of play in the event (girls and boys teams in the second and third grade, plus fourth- and fifth-grade divisions) with four teams in each bracket.
The double-elimination tournament will continue throughout Saturday and wrap up with the semifinals and championship games on Sunday beginning at 12:30 p.m.