Goodman League Rumors
For a nearly six-year stretch, beginning more than a dozen years ago, NBA players — and those working their way up to those ranks — used to come down to hoop on humid, summer nights at Barry Farm. The no-frills, hard-as-its-neighborhood court in the heart of one of D.C.’s most deprived, crime-ridden communities provided two irresistible benefits: a good run and the possibility of some hood love. But NBA stars don’t come around anymore. It’s been more than two years since Bradley Beal and Will Barton showed up as the last vestiges of a glorious, bygone, logo-stamped era, and Rawls doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon, if ever. With most Goodman League fans making it known they want some good games — with or without household names — Rawls has come to accept that. Because even if someone from the Washington Wizards or one of the many talents the region has pumped into the NBA decides to come down to Southeast and lace ’em up for the people, that magical, euphoric period won’t ever be duplicated.
Rawls is nearing the conclusion of his 23rd year as commissioner of this labor of love, and he isn’t sure how much longer the Goodman League will continue to service the community with free, family-friendly (with a hint of that pungent cloud of wacky tobacco in the air) summertime basketball. “This gentrification garbage,” Rawls said, and, unfortunately, crime from “these little fake neighborhood gangsters” who Rawls said don’t hold the same respect for some unspoken rules about times when peace should be maintained, could eventually force him to pursue the creation of an indoor pro-am somewhere else.
Looking back, Rawls is appreciative that Arenas was so committed but wonders if playing in those games on that pockmarked concrete — before corporate sponsors like Nike and Red Bull showed up to replace blacktop with something more forgiving on the knees — contributed to his never fully recovering from the 2007 torn medial collateral ligament that forever altered his career. Arenas would always make outdoor games part of his rehabilitation, which typically unsettled his employers.
Not every great player at Barry Farm suited up in the NBA, and not every NBA player left a positive impression on the people. Rawls still shakes his head about the time Steve Francis, the Takoma Park product who starred at Maryland before reaching stardom in the NBA with the Rockets, decided he was going to bless Barry Farm with his presence. “Steve came down here one day on the bs — fifteen bodyguards — and stunk the place up. Literally stunk the place up. And I told him when he decided to come, I said, ‘You’ve got to give me that Maryland Steve Francis.’ I said, ‘You can’t come down here bulljiving.’” Rawls said. “He come down there bulljiving, and the fans let him have it. Didn’t do nothing. They rolled him out of there.”
Shortly after he and Wizards teammate John Wall were cut from the Team USA basketball roster for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in Spain, Bradley Beal was back in D.C. making his Goodman League debut Monday at Barry Farm in Southeast. Beal, who was guarded by Goodman League veteran Dele Ojo, scored 33 points and helped his team of amateurs overcome a 12-point deficit in the final six minutes.
On Sunday, Beasley was playing basketball back home in Maryland. He participated in the Goodman League Roundball Classic in Hyattsville, Md., at DeMatha Catholic, a basketball-rich school that is not one of the six high schools he attended. Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, Greg Monroe and Thomas Robinson also participated in the game. Beasley led his team, opposite Durant, with 31 points for a 116-116 tie. The Beasley highlight package in this video is a reminder of how Suns people talked about how great he looked in pickup games at UCLA last summer. If you last past that portion of the video, you will see Durant go through the legs and behind the back to stagger Beasley at 1:43.
D.C. native Kevin Durant is known to show up during the summer and drop in on Goodman League games on occasion. The Thunder star rolled up to a game recently and was treated to this rejection at the hands of former NBA and George Washington University player Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Mensah-Bonsu is currently playing in Italy and last played for the New Orleans Hornets in 2011.