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Harlem Crowns basketball team comes to the area


The Harlem Crowns, an entertaining basketball troupe full of razzle dazzle, came to Coulee Dam on April 11 to play against local players, bring joy and laughter to the crowd, and to talk about overcoming adversity.

The basketball squad (although from inner city areas in California, and not Harlem, New York) performs in the Harlem Renaissance tradition of basketball, and the name is an homage to the black culture from that period, according to team manager Herb Scaife.

“Harlem Renaissance” refers to the cultural and artistic scene that took place in the Harlem area of New York City in and around the 1930s, and included the New York Renaissance, or “Rens,” an accomplished all-black basketball team.

Speaking about his hopes for the evening, Scaife said: “We bring a lot of laughter to our game, so hopefully people leave with a smile.”

The tall basketball players competed against local children, who held their own against the pros.The Crowns used their height advantage to leap over the children to dunk the ball, and block some of the children’s shots, much to the delight and laughter of the children and the crowd. The children still managed to sink several baskets, even with the tall Crowns defending against them.

Colville Tribes Health Educator Greg Marris helped bring the event to the community.

“The players of the Harlem Crowns all have a story to tell,” Marris said. “They tell how they have survived some of the hardships that our people may struggle with today, and some of the tough decisions our youth have to make today. It’s my hope that their message will be of some help for those individuals who may be struggling in some way.”

“The kids had tons of fun and that was a plus for the event,” Marris said.

The Harlem Crowns travel the United States and Canada, playing about 70 games each year, but Scaife still remembers this local area. “It looks so nice!” he said. “It’s hard to forget Coulee Dam.”

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