Wizards returning for more fun, Little League fundraising
By Jim Turner

Posted on April 28, 2014 11:09 PM

The Harlem Wizards are returning to Russellville, bringing their fun brand of basketball back to Jim Young Gymnasium. Again they will be entertaining the expected large crowd and raising money for Logan County Little League.

Two years ago this spring, the Wizards were even more fun than advertised. They played some well-known adult athletes who were eager to show than they can still play the game. It turned out to be one of the most fun nights of sports entertainment in recent memory.

The Wizards will be here next Tuesday, May 6. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30.

Some of the guys who played for the local all-stars two years ago are expected to suit up again. They include former UK football starter Mikie Benton, Logan County boys basketball coach and former three-sport athlete Lonnie Mason, Jae Allison and Ice Kennedy of Givin’ Back sports, and Timmy Hampton, a key basketball and football player for the Russellville Panthers in the late 80s. Former Logan County basketball and tennis standout Trey Turner plans to play in this year’s game instead of officiating it, as he did two years ago.

Nathan Thompson, a starter in basketball, soccer and baseball for the Panthers early in this century and now the RHS Athletic Director and head coach of the Bowling Green Hornets, will bring the shooting touch to the game which helped the Panthers reach the Final Four in 2000 and 2001.

Recent Panthers on the team will be former state track champion Victor Hampton along with Travez Hampton, Imani Hampton and Ryan Davenport, now a top assistant for Panther basketball. Among the more senior players will be Jeff Noffsinger, Calvin Naylor, Jason Petrie. Danny Finch  and LeMark McMurry. Also on the squad are Andre Ragland and the only woman member of the team so far, Cassie Redding.

Tickets are $8 in advance and can be purchased from any Logan County Little League along with being available at Roy’s Bar-B-Q, Barrow Eye Center and Yates Pharmacy. They will be $10 at the door.

Here’s information on the Wizards from the team’s website:

At the Wizards game fans see amazing basketball talent combied with hilarious comedy. The athleticism, tricks, fancy teamwork and ball-handling wizardry, plus wild dunks not even seen in NBA games, engages and wows the most avid hoops fans. The comedy is for everybody. The Wizards look to push the envelope on fun, combining pre-planned comedic acts with spontaneous humor that fans of all ages will find laugh out loud funny. The halftime show with hundreds of kids on the court, plus the postgame interaction with the Wizards who stay until every autograph is signed, is the cherry on top.

Often the Wizards are compared with the Globetrotters by people who have not taken in a Wizards show. Todd Davis, Wizards President, said, "While the Globetrotters are quite well known and many consider them synonymous with show basketball, they do not deliver the kind of connection, feeling, fun, community and excitement that the Wizards do. The Wizard experience is unique in the world. Many fans tell us that the Wizards show is beyond comparison." Davis harkened back to the old Avis tag line, "we do try harder, but even more importantly is that you will laugh harder at a Wizards show."

Whereas an NBA team's success is measured in wins and losses, the Wizards' victories lie in the millions of smiles they are responsible for and the millions of dollars raised for charitable organizations, schools, and foundations across the world. Since 1962, the Wizards have been making history with the happiness, fun, goodwill and excitement they bring.

As it celebrates 50 years of basketball wizardry worldwide, the Harlem Wizards, started in 1962 by New York sports promoter Howie Davis, pursues his vision of an organization that would put a different spin on show basketball. Fifty years later the Wizards are an institution, creating awe-inspiring fundraiser events for schools and non-profits. This season, we expect to play over 300 games around the United States and anticipate raising in excess of 1 million dollars. Smiles and enthusiasm for the Wizards matchup vs teachers, coaches and community leaders will abound.


In 1943, a Sports Promoter, and at the time, Sergeant and Recreation Director at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio, Howie Davis was called upon to provide an emergency 8th team for the World Championship of Basketball Tournament in Chicago. In just one week, he put together the Dayton Dive Bombers Basketball team.

Their first round opponent was the Harlem Globetrotters. Howie Davis, 24, an admirer of the Globetrotters and Abe Saperstein's fusion of Sports and Entertainment, was excited by the challenge. In one of the biggest upsets in sports history, the Dayton Dive Bombers beat the previous World Champions in their first game ever played!

However If Abe Saperstein hadn't refused to shake Howie Davis' hand after the game, would the competitive fuel for starting the Wizards ever have happened? One thing is certain, Davis was inspired that night, and nearly two decades later he launched his own traveling show team - the Harlem Wizards.

While the Wizards continue to break new ground, they have always had a rich tradition of attracting the games best and brightest. NBA Legends like Connie Hawkins and Tiny Archibald have toured with the Wizards. Hawthorne Wingo, Mario Elie, Hollis Copeland and over 25 NBA'ers in total have played with the Wizards.

Streetball Legends like "Sudden Sam" Worthen (Chicago Bulls), "SPEEDY" Williams (Current Wizard), "The Main Event" ,Frankie Bradshaw, Larry "Butterfly" Cheatham, Ed "Czar" Simmons, Frank "Shake & Bake" Streety, , "Headache", Guy Hughes, Clarence "MUGSY" Leggett and "Tojo" Henderson (Current Wizards) Tom "Sundance Kid" Chapin, Vincent White, James "Peanuts" Woolard and other greats have shown their various skills on tour with the Harlem Wizards.

Today's group of Harlem Wizards is as fresh, exciting and innovative as any that have donned the famed purple, black and gold jerseys. Seeing the Wizards is a rare chance to experience basketball history; past, present and future.

On any given night you might just see the next amazing new trick, or the extension of the world's longest winning streak, or the emergence of yet another of the most talented ballers on the planet, you just never know. But one thing's for certain, you will be thrilled, you will be entertained, and for a couple of hours you will believe that there is nothing in the world more fun than basketball.


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