Next week is the 36th annual Black Invitational Basketball Tournament in Halifax, Nova Scotia, starting May 14. By far, this is the most amazing basketball tournament you’ve never heard of. Yet. It’s run by the Provincial Black Basketball Association — the most amazing basketball organization you’ve never heard of … yet. How do I know? […]
Next week is the 36th annual Black Invitational Basketball Tournament in Halifax, Nova Scotia, starting May 14.
By far, this is the most amazing basketball tournament you’ve never heard of.
Because last year it was my honor to be invited by the P.B.B.A. to attend their 35th annual tournament so I could deliver the keynote address at their formal dinner and dance that accompanies the event — and catch some of the games.
Note that black Canadians call themselves African Americans. If you thought it was just us United States brothers up in here, you were wrong!
Nova Scotia has the largest per capita population of African Americans in all of Canada!
Why? Because it was the last stop on the Underground Railroad.
So many black folks ended up in Nova Scotia that they even created an all-black hockey league! That league, its teams , and their history are finally getting the attention they deserve — thanks to a fascinating new book called Black Ice, and ESPN’s coverage of the story.
The black community in Halifax is stunning. They’re unbelievably warm, gracious, humble, accepting, and embracing.
They look the same and dress the same (several cats were wearing Black Fives sneakers, for real!) and they even ball the same … but that’s where many of the comparisons stop.
I’m generalizing, of course, but I noticed a few things.
They’re punctual. They show up on time and events start on time. They love and respect each other and one another. Their aura and disposition are radiant and positive.
Not surprisingly, they’re very race conscious, but without being racist. For example, tournament policy requires that only all-black teams, including coaching staffs, can be invited to compete. (It’s a government sanctioned event, which tells you something.)
Black Nova Scotians are almost too humble, seemingly unaware of what they’re sitting on … what they really have … or what they’re capable of doing. They’re like a beautiful girl who doesn’t know (or think) she’s beautiful.
And that’s what makes the black Nova Scotia experience so charming.
By the way, I made many new friends on my visit up there last year, and they’ll be friends for life — indicative of the connection and bond we shared in a short amount of time. It was like meeting my long lost cousins. Literally, I suspect.
Please contribute to the Black Fives Foundation! Your generous donation helps us research, preserve, exhibit, and promote the history of the Black Fives Era of basketball to engage, inspire, and teach youth and others while honoring its pioneers and their descendants. Thank you!
“It is very seldom that the pioneer in any walk of life reaps the harvest from the seed he has sown. Ofttimes many of them even die without knowing the real good they have accomplished.”
—Lester Walton, pioneering African American sportswriter for the New York Age, 1907