Harlem Wizards web

by Andrea Brassfield

The Scotland County After Prom Parents will be hosting a showdown between the infamous Harlem Wizards and our very own Scotland County Shooters at the SCR-1 High School gymnasium on Wednesday, January 13th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.  This event promises to be an evening full of spontaneity, humor and amazing hoop talent!

Fifty-three years ago, in 1962, New York sports promoter, Howie Davis, had a vision of a show and organization that would put a different spin on show basketball.  The founder, (and father of current CEO Todd Davis and grandfather of Vice President Rick Schreiber) had a passion for the merger of sports and entertainment and he audaciously believed that he could create a basketball show better than the Harlem Globetrotters.  The seeds of rivalry were sown in 1943 when Howie, the director of recreation at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH was asked to replace the 8th team in the World Championship of Basketball in Chicago.  His Dayton Dive Bombers had one of the greatest sports upsets ever, defeating the mighty Globetrotters.

When Goose Tatum, the greatest basketball Showman ever, wanted to do a tour in New York and called Howie Davis to book it and promote it, Davis jumped at the chance. The Tour was a big success as Goose and his team known as the Harlem Stars took on the College All-Stars at various locations in the NY 5 boroughs. When Goose hung up his sneakers Howie wanted to create a new team to fill the demand and fulfill the opportunity he saw during the Goose tour. In 1962 three years after the Goose tour with the Harlem Stars, the Harlem Wizards were born.

Through the years the Wizards have had so many historic moments and players. Connie Hawkins, “The Hawk” spent two years touring with the Wizards in the prime of his career. Connie is one of the 50 greatest players in NBA History. Over 25 ex-NBA Players have played with the Wizards including top 50 greatest Tiny Archibald, NBA All-Star Ray Felix, the man extraordinaire Mario Elie, and Wizard homegrown star and future NY Knick Hawthorne Wingo.

The most memorable and moving game in Wizards history was in Newtown, CT in 2013. It illuminated the best of what the Wizard players can do. They brought joy for a few hours in a community that faced an unimaginable tragedy. In spring 2015, the Wizards brought an event that created positive community spirit, after the chaos in Baltimore, MD. Another memorable game was at Attica Prison in the 1970’s against the inmates. This took place not too long after the infamous Attica riot. The Wizards were cascaded with a standing ovation after the game.

The Wizards have toured nearly all of the 50 United States and many countries. The Wizards have had ten tours of China since 2000. Other tours included a USO tour of the Far Fast, as well as trips to Italy, Belgium, Taiwan, Israel, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, Poland and Venezuela. Crowds as high as 10,000+ have watched the Wizards in Soccer stadiums, bullrings, as well as basketball arenas of many CBA teams in China, and in Tel-Aviv, at Menora Mivtachim Arena. In addition the Wizards have done numerous charitable events at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.

The Wizards have played with celebrities in their travels, numerous NFL players and former NBA players, such as John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Elvin Hayes and Kobe Bryant. NY Mets Donn Clendenon and Ed Kranepool toured with the Wizards. So did Hall of Famer and current NBA Asst. Coach, Nancy Lieberman and NY Giants Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and basketball hall of famer, the greatest show dribbler of all-time, the late Marques Haynes.

One celebrity event that featured the Wizards at Madison Square Garden included a star-studded cast including Joe DiMaggio, Bill Bradley, Franco Harris, Oscar Robinson, Phylicia Rashaad, Luke Perry and Tony Randall.

The Wizards primary focus is fundraising events for non-profits and school organizations. The record is held by Monroe-Woodbury High School for hosting the Wizards 27 years in a row.

If you are looking for a great stocking stuffer or last minute Christmas idea, this event is sure to please anyone on your shopping list!  Tickets purchased before the event are $10 and $12 at the door.  In addition, Reserved seats can be purchased for $15 and a special Courtside ticket can be purchased for $30.  Reserved seats are closer to the court and include a free poster, perfect for autographs.  Courtside tickets include a free “Courtside Plus” credential (lanyard and attachment), 10 minute Meet & Greet with the Wizards (45 minutes prior to the game), free Team poster, Special Reserved Courtside seating and a $15 discount towards a Wizards Replica Jersey.

Sponsorships can also be purchased for $100.  Sponsorships give businesses positive exposure at this family fun event.  Included in the cost of the sponsorship are either two Courtside tickets or four Reserved tickets.

All tickets can be purchased at three locations in Memphis including the Memphis Democrat, Scotland County Pharmacy and Natalie’s New Outlooks.  Tickets can also be purchased online at https://harlemwizards.thundertix.com/events.  Once you are on site, simply click on Schedules & Tickets.  This will bring up a calendar.  Go to January, then in the January 13th box, click on Memphis, MO.  Click on select and the ticket ordering window will appear with all of the ticket purchasing options.

For more information about purchasing or ordering tickets or purchasing a sponsorship, contact Jenny Kerkmann at 660-216-1551.