(June 15, 2012) When word spread that legendary Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls would celebrate his 50th birthday during the week of June 11, the AFRO didn’t hesitate to get him on the horn.

After all, it had been more than four years since the AFRO first interviewed the Washington, D.C. sports icon about the Barry Farms community basketball league, which he helped develop into one of the most important basketball organizations in D.C sports history.

Rawls had told the AFRO in 2008 that his favorite memory from all the decades he has spent with the Goodman League was when the And1 Street Basketball Tour first came to the Barry Farms court in 2002 to compete against the Goodman League All Stars. He said that moment almost made him teary-eyed.

“To see the basketball courts packed the way they were and how people were climbing on the fence just to get a view, it was amazing,” said Rawls, who has also seen several other NBA stars play in his league, from Washington, D.C. native Kevin Durant to former Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas. “It almost brought tears to my eyes to be honest with you.”

In the last four years, the league has continued to grow, transforming from a local pastime to a national attraction. Last summer, he planned a challenge between another famous summer community basketball league, the Drew League of Los Angeles, Calif. That game was played in front of several thousand fans at Trinity College in D.C.

Now, at age 50, Rawls said he has a new favorite memory: watching Nike renovate the Barry Farms community court.

“Seeing Nike makeover my court, setting up these brand new stands that seat over 700 people, it’s amazing just knowing where we came from to where we are now,” Rawls said. “So I rank that moment right up there with And1 coming ‘inside-the-gates.’”

Rawls also told the AFRO that the Nike World Basketball Festival, in conjunction with Nike Global Basketball Challenge Summit, will visit the newly renovated basketball court—“the Barry Farms Coliseum”—sometime in mid-July.
“We’re excited about that,” said Rawls.

But he sounded even more enthusiastic when he shared the plans underway to celebrate his 50th birthday. A big cookout was held in his honor down at the new court June 12. He also planned on partying with the band Experience Unlimited June 13, and will be honored at yet another celebration at the Marygold club June 15. 


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor