Harlem Wizards wow Helena community
Published 11:45 am Tuesday, February 23, 2016
By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer
HELENA–High-flying stunts, trick shots and a whole lot of slam-dunks were on display in the Helena High School Gymnasium on Monday, Feb. 22 as the Harlem Wizards returned to Helena for the third time as they took on the Helena High School Band-its in a fun, exhibition basketball game to benefit the HHS Band Boosters.
The Harlem Wizards began in 1962 and now travel around the world entertaining audiences for schools and nonprofits, which has resulted in more than $2 million raised for fundraisers.
Faculty members across all Helena schools and other Shelby County leaders participated in the exhibition basketball game where they took on members of the Harlem Wizards with nicknames such as “Broadway,” “Swoop,” “A-Train,” “Livewire,” “Showtime” and more.
The gym was packed with kids of all ages and grade levels as one of the Wizards’ main aspects of the event is including kids participation.
One of the Harlem Wizards players, Eric “Broadway” Jones, has been with the team for the past 18 years and explained the best thing about being part of the organization.
“I think the best part is the fact that we get an opportunity on a daily basis to impact people in a positive way,” said Jones. “Just knowing that we can do that, you wake up every day with a sense of purpose.”
In addition to the trick shots and dunks, the Wizards got the crowd involved with numerous games and contests.
One of the biggest laughs of the night came when Jones asked a boy in the audience where he was going in the middle of the game. The boy responded with “the bathroom.” Jones then asked “No. 1 or No. 2,” to which he received the response “No. 3.”
In the end, the night wasn’t about the final score, but instead raising money to support the Helena High School Band.
“What they do with the kids is fun, they do a nice job of entertaining the kids,” said Helena High School Band Director Jeff Burnside. “Right now, what they’re earning is just helping us pay for the things that we had to get to start the (band) program. Helping out with instruments and uniforms and stuff that we had to get.”
For more information on the Harlem Wizards, visit Harlemwizards.com.