Harlem Wizards Bring Flash and Comedy to the Hudson Hardwood
January 22, 2016
by Tom Tollefson
The Steckevicz gym was once again electrified with the basketball magic of the Harlem Wizards. For the third straight year, the Alvirne Athletic Boosters Club sponsored a fundraiser game between the Harlem Wizards and the Hudson Hoopsters team, made up of Hudson teachers with Alvirne High School Principal Steven Beals serving as the referee.
“It’s always a fun night for the families, and it’s sports related so it’s a great event to support the boosters,” said Booster Club Vice President Amy Corcoran.
In total, 20 percent of the proceeds from the ticket sales and merchandise went to the Alvirne Booster Club, which funds non-budget items for all Alvirne High School athletic teams such as uniforms, equipment, and other expenses. The 20 percent of the sales was only guaranteed to the club if they provided six members to staff the souvenir table.
During the day prior to the game, the Wizards paid a visit to Hills Garrison, Nottingham West, H.O. Smith, and Hudson Memorial School to meet Hudson’s youth and tell them about their game.
“It was a lot of fun because we go got to meet a lot of the kids at the schools and then see them at the game and have a good time,” said Harlem Wizard player Dwayne Simpson “Swoops.”
The evening was filled with jokes and top 40 format music blasting throughout the game in addition to the flashy dunks and dribbling for which the Harlem Wizards are known.
The players kept their routine up to date by taking breaks between the action to snap “selfie” photos in the stands with the fans. The Wizards have asked fans to post photos and videos on Instagram with #HarlemWizards. The fan with the most photos or videos with the comedic team will win Harlem Wizards merchandise and a chance to get a selfie with the players at halftime of a future game.
The fan involvement continued throughout the game as the team “drafted” a young girl from the stands to come out onto the floor and play on their team for a period of time.
“The kids had a blast. I like the involvement with the kids. They had a permanent smile the whole night,” said Kerri Vallante, a Hudson resident who brought her two kids to the game.
The game ended in a large dance party as the Harlem Wizards invited everyone in the stands to come onto the floor and dance to the sounds of familiar hits as the last 10 seconds ticked off the clock and glitter exploded onto the court.
“It’s a lot of fun and it helps us support the Alvirne High School Boosters, and the kids have a great time and talk about it all year,” said Hudson Memorial Principal Keith Bowen.