Photo courtesy of A. Sutton Sports.
By David Cordova
Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city. It is the home of the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the United States Capitol, the African-American Museum and so much more. When it comes to basketball, there is also plenty that the District of Columbia provides.
There is the Capital One Arena, which is the home of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. There are also four Division I programs in the city, which are American University (Patriot League), Howard University (MEAC), George Washington University (Atlantic 10) and the most prestigious college program in the city, Georgetown University (Big East), which also plays their home games at Capital One.
But in the urban part of the city, there is one event, or tournament, in which the city’s best comes to do battle at, which brings out the community and shows a lot of entertainment.
The name of the tournament is called the Goodman League. In 1975, when the league was first created, it went by the name, the Barry Farms Community Basketball League, named after the community in the southeast part of D.C., and it was started by Ervin Brady, Carlton Reed and Morty Hammonds.
It was later renamed in the 1980’s after its’ namesake, George Goodman, who was resident of Barry Farms, a community activist and counselor of the local recreation center, who passed away in 1984.
In the present day, the Goodman League is considered to be one of the best summer leagues in the country. When one steps on that asphalt it is always time to do battle and you must always be on your A-game.
But it is also more than just about basketball. “Peace, love and basketball,” says commissioner Miles Rawls on the mission of the tournament. “Curtailing crime for the city, my neighborhood. These grassroots leagues, that’s what each city needs to keep the crime down that’s going on. Crime around the country is at an all-time high, especially in urban neighborhoods, so this is good stuff.”
On a regular day, the Goodman League is as many see on YouTube, live and full of energy. “We get about 2,000 people a night, it’s a crazy atmosphere,” says Rawls.
When asked what the basketball scene is like in the District of Columbia, Rawls replied, “The basketball scene in D.C. is different. In New York, where they don’t care who’s playing. In D.C, they want to know who’s playing, but when I get my show on the road, we pack the house and it’s just as crazy as it is in New York, it’s pandemonium.”
A lot of famous players have graced the courts of the Goodman League, such as former Syracuse guard Lawrence Moten, former NBA players Ty Lawson and Brandon Jennings (both of whom are now playing professionally in China) and current NBA players such as Mike Beasley (New York Knicks), Will Barton (Denver Nuggets), Brad Beal (Washington Wizards) and last, but definitely not least All-Star forward Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors).
But for every NBA player that has graced the courts of the Goodman League, there were also the legendary figures that didn’t go on to the League. There were players such as Randy “White Chocolate” Gill, Andrew “Spongebob” Washington and most recently, former high school All-American Aquille “The Crimestopper” Carr that always put on a show when they came down to Barry Farms.
“My heart and soul is with the neighborhood guys,” says Rawls, ” and the college guys that come out and try to make a name for they self each and every night Inside da Gates.”
One thing that those from out of town have to know is that the Goodman League can be a tough environment to play in, especially for those from out of town.
“Over the years myself and Miles built a solid friendship. Myself and my guys love going out there at least twice every summer to play in prime time games,” said Daryl “Dee” Frazier, head coach of the pro-am squad, Team Dream, which hails from Brooklyn, New York, “It’s just a different vibe down there compared to NYC Summer League ball. Everybody can’t play Inside da Gates. Everybody can’t coach Inside da Gates. Full park going crazy, everybody slandering because they don’t wanna see NYC come into their hometown and win, Miles on the mic usually has me doing more laughing then coaching, it’s a good feeling.”
When asked about the what it’s like when opposing teams come inside the gates, Rawls replied, “It’s off the chain. If you got somebody on your team that’s putting in work en they cheer for that particular person.”
Now that the tournament has been around for over 40 years, it’s safe to say that it’s a landmark event that has gained respect throughout the country. So much so, that it is now featured as one of many courts featured in the new NBA Live 18 video game from EA Sports, which is out now.
But then again, more great things will come in the future in the courts on 1230 Sumner Road in the Southeast part of the nation’s capital. When asked what the future holds Inside da Gates, Rawls replied, “I do year by year with the Goodman League, I live my life day by day. This is year 21, lord willing, I’m gonna do season 22 next year.”
Highlights of the Goodman League:
Courtesy of Fan-I Sports.
Courtesy of Darkling Productions.
Courtesy of The 6ixth Man TV.
Courtesy of Mars Reel.
Courtesy of Mars Reel.