Washington, D.C.’s George Goodman summer street basketball league opened a new chapter on June 18: the Goodman Coalition.

A shakeup of sorts in the famed outdoor league, the Goodman Coalition offers an indoor venue for some of the best basketball in the Metropolitan area, featuring the catchy commentating of local announcer Miles Rawls. A revitalization of the defunct Urban Coalition league, the Goodman Coalition officially opened its doors for the summer at Joel Elias Spingarn High School in the city’s Northeast district to a positive turnout for the day’s quartet of games.

The existing Goodman outdoor league is widely recognized for its ability to attract NBA talent, and the indoor version proved no different. Maryland native and current Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson was on hand to celebrate the league’s first day, and he did so in a big way. Lawson exploded for 45 points, a high for the day, showing in dramatic detail the difference between NBA pedigree and amateur hoopsters. When he wasn’t flying by defenders for easy layups, the former North Carolina Tar Heel was setting up shots from deep in the field. His efforts sparked his team, Sweat Mob, to a 125-115 victory over the competing A-Wash squad, a collection of current and former college stars.

With music blaring and the aroma of food filling Spingarn’s gymnasium, watching Lawson perform surgery on would-be defenders was priceless, especially given the free admission. “I can’t believe how quick he is,” one onlooker commented.

Although Lawson wasn’t the only local star player in the building, he was by far the biggest name with the biggest game. Maryland local and former University of Tennessee point guard Bobby Maze made an appearance along with D.C. native and former Syracuse University star Lawrence Moten. Moten played alongside Lawson in one of the afternoon games, and the Big East’s all-time leading scorer and former Washington Wizard didn’t disappoint. “I wasn’t even supposed to play but they need an extra guy,” Moten said after following up Lawson’s big day with 25 points.

With several notable names in attendance, it’s clear the Goodman Coalition will be a hot spot for hoops action this summer. The outdoor league will run its show during the week from Monday through Friday, and the indoor circuit will host games on Saturday and Sunday. NBA star Kevin Durant has already graced the outdoor circuit this summer, but Lawson expects him to make a return appearance.

“It’s fun. Every time I’m in town, I’m going to play. Either here or , I love it out there so I’m always going to play,” Lawson said after the game. “It’s big. A lot of guys don’t come back and play in games like this. So, I’m just showing support.”

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO