bounce mag’s jon lopez recently wrote this fabulous feature on what may just may have been new york city’s prime-time tournament 2009: together we chill …
“Where can you see the likes of Kareem “’Reem wit it, Rock wit it” Reid, Antawn “Anti-Freeze” Dobie, Kenny “Serious Satellite” Satterfield, John “Franchise” Strickland, “The Cab Driver,” “Baby Shaq” and other big names in the summer in NYC? Well, actually, Dyckman, Kingdome, Tri-State and EBC are some of the tournaments where you will find these guys gettin’ busy. But there’s another, less talked-about, tournament where one can find these elite ballers: Together We Chill. Located in the heart of El Barrio on 119th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, TWC might be one of the most slept-on tournaments in the city.
read the whole write-up after the jump!
The crowd is hyped every night. Co-commissioner of the tournament, DJ Tedsmooth is always on the 1s and 2s keeping the crowd’s energy high during timeouts. He even plays theme music for worthy players during the game. The Music at TWC is part of the entertainment, not just to fill time when play is stopped.
Master Z, Craig aka “Ready Rock” and SAP announce the games with a unique style. SAP rocks his cape and soars around the park as he calls the game. Ready Rock’s laid-back swag and announcing style is unparalleled. Master Z’s energy and style are right between that of Ready Rock and SAP and is a perfect compliment that brings a balance of quality announcing at the games.
Trends are set at TWC not only in basketball, but also in fashion. All summer long it was known that jean shorts were not fashionable, at least not on 119th Street. Just to show how far that trend has reached, I was listening to the radio recently and Funkmaster Flex announced, “Jean shorts are FINISHED!”
You can always see good streetball at TWC and the typical hallmarks of streetball such as food, maybe somebody on a motorcycle poppin’ wheelies outside the park, perhaps a Ron Artest sighting, folding chairs outside the gate; all that good stuff. But there’s at least one thing TWC has that no other tournament on the streets has: the jumbotron. You have to see it to believe it. Sitting on the opposite baseline of the action? No problem, check it out on the jumbotron. It’s crazy, innovative for a street tournament and separates TWC from other tournaments.
Founded in 1993 by George “G Bush” Gonzalez, his brother Raymond “Big Ta” Reynoso and some of their good friends, including DJ Tedsmooth, TWC is a grassroots tournament at its heart. DJ Tedsmooth explained to me that TWC “started from sittin’ on the stoop. We’re all friends. We keep it grassroots and the people can relate.” With limited sponsors only recently chipping in, the commissioner himself gets on the grill for the tournament.
“And let me tell you, [George] makes a hell of a burger!” mentions DJ Tedsmooth. He adds, “We keep it real family.” Together they run an elite streetball tournament without a bureaucracy – the founder prepares burgers to keep the tournament running. That’s not something you see at a lot of tournaments.
The TWC playoffs were off the hook this year. Crowd favorite, T.O.S. moved up from the junior division to compete in the unlimited side of things for the first time with the support of Dominican Power and made some noise. In fact, led by Brian “The Pirate” Laingi, Jamel “The Mixtape,” and Swiss aka “Hood D,” T.O.S. pulled off a ill upset in the final seconds of a playoff game against top-seeded Piff Unit when Hood D drained a trey from the corner as time expired. That shot officially made T.O.S. the Cinderella team in August at TWC. As a local team they already had the support of the crowd, but this victory made everybody believe T.O.S. could actually win it all.
Is Piff Unit’s run at TWC over or will they come back next year and regain control? Something like 60-3 (Piff Unit was undefeated this year until they were ousted by T.O.S. in the playoffs) is still a formidable record, but in recent history it looks like Krispy Kutz is adding up the wins when they count most. So Krispy Barber Shop, Home of The 2009 TWC Crown and the Bragging Rights that Come With It.
By the way, Coach Dave’s experience extends beyond the concrete jungle. He also coached Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in a PSAL championship victory against Lincoln High School’s Railsplitters led by Stephon Marbury in the early ‘90s. His résumé speaks for itself. After a memorable season for T.O.S. and a strong effort in the championship game in 2009, Krispy Kutz proved to be too much as they repeated, solidifying their place among elite dynasties at TWC. That makes it officially two back-to-back championships for Krispy Kutz, but if you count 2007, that’s a three-peat. Jesse Sapp finished with 20, hit clutch free throws and was the MVP. Cabbie dropped 30 for Krispy Kutz. Meanwhile, ‘Mel The Mixtape and Chris each had 17, The Pirate finished with 16 for T.O.S. and was a strong floor leader, and Baby Shaq added 11. The final score was 86-83 complete with some late game heroics for both teams.
Any way you look at it, the crowd is sure to be entertained at TWC. If you haven’t been there recently or at all, you should definitely put TWC on your list of tournaments to check out in 2010.