Rumph Classic: Pro-Am In Philly Played For Great Cause

Photo courtesy of Madot Pics.

By David Cordova

On a Friday night in early August, the people in the city of Philadelphia descend to an event that brings plenty of excitement & good basketball, but yet is also played for a great cause: the battle against heart disease.

Every year on this month for the last thirteen years, the Danny Rumph Classic has been a marquee attraction because of the level of talent that have come out to perform on the hardwood. The event started out the Mallery Recreation Center in 2005, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and has now expanded to the Tom Gola Arena, which is the home gym of LaSalle University.

“The mission of the Danny Rumph Classic and the Foundation is to see the next bright star. To sum it up, we want to raise funds so we can do free CPR classes for the community and free heart screenings for the youth in different communities. We’ll come out and test them and make sure the kids are healthy,” said Marcus Owen, the president and executive director of the Danny Rumph Foundation.

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Former Creighton University point guard Maurice Watson, Jr. goes to the basket strong at the Rumph Classic. (Photo courtesy of Madot Pics).

Daniel “Danny” Rumph II, the namesake of the event, was a native of Philadelphia that played three years of Division I basketball at Western Kentucky University. He died of a fatal heart attack on May 8th, 2005, at the age of 21.

“Danny was a great nephew, great friend, great son, great grandson,” said Owen of Rumph, “He was quiet, very athletic, very talented. Everyone loved him on his team, he played hard, you know, just a smart, bright, friendly, wholesome young man. It was a tremendous loss.”

Heart disease when it comes to sports is not a strange thing. There have been plenty of basketball players that have died as a result of a heart ailment, such as Philadelphia basketball legend and collegiate All-American Hank Gathers in 1990, Reggie Lewis of the Boston Celtics in 1993 and former Syracuse center Conrad McRae in 2000.

On the subject of how important it is to combat heart disease, Owen added: “Man, it’s very important, heart disease in our community kills over 450,000 people a year in different forms of it. This particular form of it, cardiomyopathy, HCM, sudden cardiac arrest, it kills over thirty youths a year. If you talk about kids under 25, and 18 and teenagers, kids in those [age] ranges, losing kids that young, we’ve definitely got to combat that.”

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Former Imhotep Charter and All-City guard Brandon Austin tries to get to the hole against Maurice Watson, Jr. (Photo courtesy of Madot Pics).

Since its inception, the Rumph Classic has had many notable players come out to compete in their event, such as Markieff Morris (Washington Morris), Marcus Morris (Boston Celtics), Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers) NBA MVP James Harden (Houston Rockets and most recently, All-Star guard John Wall (Washington Wizards) as well as former Villanova guard and two-time national champion Jalen Brunson, who will begin his rookie season with the Dallas Mavericks, which drafted him in the second round in this year’s NBA Draft in June.

Two years ago, when Harden came out to play at the Rumph, the enire city of Philadelphia was a in frenzy, and it was a sold out affair when he came out to play for Team FOE.

“Man, it was amazing. It was electrifying. We put the word out about 2:00 in the afternoon, and we had a line outside at about 4:00 in the afternoon, and then once he got in the gym, it was electrifying because he actually put on a show, and was animated with the crowd, so it was electric,” said Owen about Harden’s appearance.

The tournament this year was played over a period of four days from Thursday, August 2nd to Monday, August 6th and had teams such as Team FOE, Blue Magic, 8Eye, Marathon Sports, Life After Sports, Phil’s Excellent Auto, Rumph Center and JAB All-Stars out to play for a championship.

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Dallas Mavericks rookie and former collegiate All-American Jalen Brunson looks to make a move against his defender. (Photo courtesy of Madot Pics).

In the end, the championship went to Rumph Center, which won it’s fourth title ever in the history of the event. Another year has come and gone and the event has thrived. What’s next in the future for the Rumph Classic?

“The Rumph Classic will continue to grow, hopefully we’ll continue to get the new youth in the NBA that’s coming out to Philadelphia and [players from] surrounding colleges, last night, we were fortunate to have the Sixers’ first-round draft pick Zhaire Smith in the building, Ben Simmons in the last year came to see us, and Joel Embiid, so hopefully we can get some of those guys here, maybe the whole squad to participate,” said Owen.

Aside from the action, there is the issue of heart disease that is still intact. It is something that can be dethroned by taking care of your bodies, having the proper nourishment and also going to get heart screenings on a regular basis.

It is something important for all folks to do, especially when it involves the ability to breathe and live. Sometimes, that one appointment to the doctor can sometimes save your life.

Highlights of the Rumph Classic:

Courtesy of 8Eye Media.

Courtesy of 8Eye Media.

Courtesy of Ballin365.com.

Courtesy of 8Eye Media.

Courtesy of 8Eye Media.

Courtesy of Raw Sports.

Courtesy of Raw Sports.

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