Monday night, October 28, the Harlem Wizards swept into Kansas to help raise funds for the Special Olympic Athletes.
Though it was a cold, rainy night, the crowd kept swelling to an almost full gymnasium.
In fact, originally, Kansas Special Services only requested 250 tickets to sell, but quickly had to order 250 more and ultimately ended up with over 400 tickets sales, in addition to walk-ins.
There were four teams, one for each period, lined up to play against the Wizards: The Kansas Elite, The Holy Hoopsters, the Kansas Super Comets and The Kansas Gizzards.
Six players and one announcer made up the Harlem Wizards team, with players from all around the country.
Overall there are four teams of Wizards traversing the country helping fund raise, mostly for schools.
They will play for over 515 schools this year, plus an additional 125 games.
The Wizards add new routines throughout the year, especially routines that relate to popular current events with students.
Every Wizard travels with a nickname or a stage name with Kansas hosting Jet, Ice, Rocket (the captain), The Artist, La Fiesta and Big J as players, plus the announcer known as Go Boy.
A couple of interesting Wizards:
Go Boy joined the Wizards one year ago; he’s from New Jersey, included a stint in music (until 2009), a sports journalism degree, hip hop recording artist and stand-up comedian.
Rocket, the captain, joined the Wizards 18 years ago, right out of college.
He is from a small town, Fuquay-Varina, N.C., and can’t imagine doing anything else as fun as the Wizards and loves helping kids.
Kansas Special Services wanted to thank everyone who came out and supported their evening.
The funds raised will cover the cost of their athletes to attend local and state competitions, hotel and transportation, registration fees, uniforms and meals.
A special thanks went to West Siloam Springs Cherokee Hotel and Casino for providing seven rooms for the Wizards.