PHILADELPHIA, PA — Soooo… I turn off City Avenue onto the bucolic campus of Friends’ Central High School. It’s about 7:30 pm on a Monday and the parking lot is packed. There is not a single available spot… Hundreds of cars packed like sardines… So many that it is obvious that the yellow lines are considered mere suggestions. Cars have ventured onto the manicured lawn.
I say to myself, maybe there’s some kind of orientation or something. They must welcoming new parents and students for the upcoming school year… This a LOT of people. After carefully perusing the lot three times, finally, I see a spot. It’s open… But there’s a sign that written in an Asian script. Chinese, Japanese, Korean? I’m not sure.
I have absolutely no idea what the sign says. It could say your car will be immediately towed for all I know. But, after scouring the lot for for more than 10 minutes, I’m anxious to get inside and so, I decide to take a chance.
I park and pray…
I take the brief stroll through the beautiful campus and finally reach the gym. I am warmly greeted at the door. After securing admission, I walk down the hall and there is Ahmad Nowell ’24 (Imhotep/Team Final), Robert Wright III ’24 (Neumann-Goretti/Team Final), Justin Edwards ’23 (Imhotep/Team Final) and Nasir Washington ’23 (West Philly). They are all wearing the same jersey.
Goooood Damn… Da fuck is goin’ on… that team is loaded…
Welcome to the Chosen League!
I ease into the gym… excuse me… excuse me… excuse me…
It’s packed… I am no longer wondering why all the cars were in the parking lot.
All these people knew what I knew… It was time for Chosen League basketball… Rahim Thompson is at it again…
Thompson has once again demonstrated his keen understanding of the nuances of summer basketball. Every year he masterfully schedules Chosen League events during periods when the kids are available and anxious to play a highly entertaining brand of basketball. Better than anyone else, Thompson deftly manages to avoid the never ending tug-of-wars over players that take place every summer.
Will the skill of masterful politicians like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Thompson consistently avoids the pot holes and pulls off the the most exciting and action packed summer basketball events.
Tonight was no exception… Some of the VERY BEST scholastic players in the region, were on the floor. Edwards, who recently committed to Kentucky, is pushing for the top spot in the national rankings. Nowell and Wright are consensus top 40 in the nation. Zion Stanford ’23 (West Catholic/K-Low) is being hotly pursued by Temple, St. Joseph’s and Boston College among others. His Burr teammate Adam “Budd” Clark is a consummate Philly PG that has attracted the attention of several D1programs. Washington and former Imhotep Panther, Naji Reed, are also legitimate D1 prospects.
Maaaaan listen… Rahim got the dudes in the house!
But wait… There’s more…
He also has THE DUDETTE! The TOP girl baller in the region, Hannah Hidalgo ’23 (Paul VI/Philly Rise) could easily play in the Boys division of the Chosen League. Truth be told, she would do a lot more than hold her own… She’s that good. So much so, that it’s somewhat difficult to assess her when she compete against female high school competition. Hidalgo, a key member of the 2022 USA Basketball Women’s U17 National Team, is an elite national and international talent.
The best girls… The best boys… In one gym, side by side.
Chosen League is where it’s at… The camaraderie and respect that were on display are unmatched locally. The Chosen League long ago ascended to the top of the summer basketball food chain in Philadelphia. The combination of magnificent basketball talent and a family friendly game atmosphere is irresistible to true Philly hoop heads.
For those of us of a certain age, you could close your eyes and think it was 1982 and you were on Broad Street in McGonigle Hall… But it’s the summer of 2022 and this is the new tradition. It’s the biggest and best game in town this time of year. I’m telling you… Make your way to Friends’ Central. But you’re probably gonna have to park on the Philly side of City Avenue.
If you have a problem on the Philly side, you can lodge a complaint with City Councilman Isaiah Thomas. He’ll be on the sideline trying to figure out a way to slow down teams with 7 or 8 Division 1 players. Good luck with than Councilman.