It all started with some horrifying talk about trash at a cookout, and a question that’s been around the city for generations.
Which neighborhood has the best basketball players? Boston?
Ten years ago, a A group of friends called CrewLove I decided to hold a basketball tournament. Hurry over a two-week period to find teams, referees and jerseys for everyone.
Since then, the event has grown mostly through word of mouth and social media. It has become an entire weekend dedicated to spotlighting local talent and businesses.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the weekend is the annual event Roxbury vs Dorchester matchwhich came later in 2016.
What was initially supposed to be a 5-on-5 game between friends has evolved into one of the city’s popular gems, and this year two of Boston’s biggest names – Mayor Michelle Wu and Celtics striker Jaylen Brown – have stopped by adding to the hype even more.
Bragging rights, Boston style
Vision was a true bragging rights game. There are no professional players and no first division players. Just regular people from the neighborhood who love the game.
“It’s good to see players who can’t play these tournaments often,” CrewLove member Andrew Angus told Boston.com. “Just the average guy in Boston who just loves to compete, or the guy who was nice at their prime but able to meet their crew and just play. It kind of opened up for people to understand it like we all love to win, but camaraderie is the best thing.”
CrewLove chooses coaches, coaches choose teams. Roxbury leads the series 2-1 after winning this year’s game in a blast.
The first game, at Mildred Ave Community Center, was full, but the humidity in the gym made the floor too slippery to finish the game. This moved the game to Emmanuel College before COVID-19 closed gyms across the city. Eventually, the outdoor game moved to Harambee Park.
Despite moving three times in six years and the COVID-related gap, the energy has remained the same no matter where the Games are held. It’s about organizing a fun and safe event for the community, said CrewLove member Phil Gein.
“We use basketball up front to get everyone together, but it’s more than just basketball,” Jane told Boston.com. “Ultimately we want to be able to do back-to-school trips and holiday gifts, things like that. The truth is we need help with that. We’re still trying to make connections with the right people to make these things happen.”
Jaylene Brown saves the weekend
CrewLove uses the game as a platform to highlight local small businesses. Some vendors brought merchandise and food for sale. Others offered free services such as hair cutting and painting for children.
Jaylen Brown’s clothing brand, 7uice, has created a mobile shop in the game. The truck ended up at hand in an unexpected way.
“We tried to do things the right way, we had to get a permit to park and we were supposed to need a generator permit,” Jane said. “We didn’t have that, so we were unaware. The police officer who came and talked to us was really nice about it, he was like ‘You can’t turn this on.'” You do not have the appropriate permission for this. Fortunately, Jaylen Brown had a mobile clothing truck there and we were able to run power through the truck. So shout out to JB guy, he saved the weekend.”
Brown didn’t just have the truck there. He personally came to the game and stayed for hours.
“The way he walked so casually you would have thought he was a normal person,” said CrewLove member Keith “Jay” Branch. “There wasn’t a million people with him. He just walked in, and gave everyone the treatment. I don’t think people really knew it was him until someone announced ‘Oh, Jalen Brown is here.’ He didn’t have the crazy jewelry, he didn’t have a huge security team, he was He walked around every vendor, stopped, took pictures, and went in queues. ”
A vision to unite Massachusetts
Angus said the events that bring together people from all walks of life demonstrate the city’s ability to become a more welcoming and inclusive place, using Mayor Wu’s appearance as an example.
“Seeing the mayor there is like a cultural moment,” Angus said. “She’s like ‘Oh my God’ she’s here, and she sees the atmosphere and the substance is here. She sees it’s not what people portray it to be. It’s like ‘Look at this beautiful atmosphere of people.'”
One of Angus’ main goals is to persuade the new Police Commissioner Michael Cox, a Roxbury native, to attend the game next year. Taking steps towards building safer communities is one of the main reasons CrewLove is still in the game.
“If the mayor can do it, he can do it. If Jaylen Brown can do it, he can do it. If Rachel Rollins can do it, he can do it,” Angus said. But it’s good to see those faces there. And on top of this, I know there are some cops who have a negative view within our community and I think that could change if they feel part of the community.”
Angus said Roxbury and Dorchester have issues with violence, but he hopes that people being able to get to know each other through basketball makes things better in the two neighborhoods and beyond.
“I feel our mission is to unite the basketball communities within the state,” Angus said. “I think that’s our five-year goal now to unite the basketball communities of Lawrence, New Bedford, Cambridge, Brockton and Springfield. If basketball can unite us, it can unite Massachusetts.”
Subscribe for Celtics Updates🏀
Get breaking news and analysis delivered to your inbox during basketball season.