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What the Goodman League means to Washington D.C.

Aug 19, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT

2007-08-28-Goodman-league

This is the latest in PBT’s “if you read just one story today make it this one” series.

Over at TrueHoop Beckley Mason has a fantastic profile of The Goodman League and the man who makes it happen, Miles Rawls. It comes on the eve of the most anticipated game of the summer — NBA star’s from Los Angeles’ Drew League are coming to Goodman to take on their All-Stars. Kevin Durant and John Wall will be among those suiting up for Goodman, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan are just a couple of the Drew League names.

But Goodman is a lot more than just NBA players balling (where you get to watch up close for free). That is the brilliant part of the story — it describes how the league is a neutral zone, a respite in the city’s troubled Barry Farms neighborhood.

“Barry Farms is one of the toughest neighborhoods in D.C.,” Durant says, “and every time we play, nothing happens. No fights, nobody wants to get into it. It’s like family and that’s what I like about playing down there….”

For the players, it’s high-level competition, but for the audience, it’s a block party, a picnic and, oh yeah, some basketball. Lawn chairs, hot wings, squealing children, french fries and Philly blunts are the norm courtside. At halftime, a D.J. mixes Motown with Go-Go and contemporary.

It’s like that in other places — the Drew League is in a rough part of Los Angeles, the Melo Center was funded by Carmelo Anthony in Baltimore because the area needed something like that. These leagues are about community coming together in areas that could use more of it.

Go read the whole story, you’ll come away with a better understanding of Rawls, the league and D.C. And if it’s possible, you’ll like Kevin Durant even more.

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