AlwaysLive/Black Cager Youth Hoop Tip Off! March 3-4!!

We are excited to announce the ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager partnership. We want to help mid-Atlantic area AAU/Grassroots programs get their season off to a STRONG start. The best way to do that is to provide a platform for STRONG competition. Come play two REALLY good games with us against strong competition.

We will work with you to ensure that you coaches, players and parents have a positive early season experience.

Play two tough games in three hours. No sitting around, no long waits. Play a game, rest a game then play a game. Select games will be live-streamed.

The ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager Youth Hoop Tipoff 8U-14U (DOUBLE PLAY)  event will showcase the area’s best talent in the 8U – 14U divisions. ALWAYSLIVE maximizes recruiting exposure by gathering complete game video, advanced statistics and, player data for recruitable (14U-17U) prospects. An ALWAYSLIVE event also provides enhanced player profiles for each participant which will be shareable with recruiters, coaches, and fans.

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Register here for ALWAYSLIVE/BlackCager Youth Tipoff

 

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See You There!!

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The Rise of $$$ and the Erosion of Boundaries in Youth Basketball

“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Timothy 6:10

Because money has become central to youth sports at an elite level, grown men involved with the game today are unwilling to say “no” to kids… men are unwilling to establish boundaries with kids for fear that they will leave the programs…

Because money has become central to youth sports, men encourage kids to lie, deceive and be disloyal…

The centrality of money negatively impacts the culture of youth sports, especially basketball…

To argue that Philadelphia’s basketball culture has not deteriorated or that the deterioration is not related to the increased presence of money in nonsensical… Indeed, I would argue the respect for boundaries and money are inversely correlated… The more money involved, the less respect for boundaries.

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Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the erosion of boundaries within Philadelphia’s Black basketball community has emerged as a social problem. Most of us have cringed after reading a kid described as a “bum, trash, hoagie or even a pussy” by grown men on facebook or twitter. It is not uncommon to hear parents, friends or ol’ heads ruthlessly attack referees and coaches during games. Doesn’t matter the venue… Collegiate, scholastic, grassroots or youth levels it happens everywhere the game is played these days.

Adult males text and “slide in the DMs” of 13-14 year old boys on a regular basis… Sometimes they contact these boys multiple times a day, everyday for months at a time…

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Many may think of these blatant boundary crossing incidents as the actions of a few isolated rogue individuals. In this way, these behaviors are attributed to some personal fault or pathology in the adult or the kid and the parents, or all of them. In other words, if the parents “want the attention” then the issue is a personal problem affecting only a few “abnormal” situations.

However, those immersed in Philadelphia’s basketball community know full well that these are not isolated incidents. These behaviors have emerged as the new norm. Boundary crossing behaviors occurs so frequently… SHIT HAPPENS SO MUCH… it is no longer a private matter, but rather a public issue. It has also become much more difficult to attribute its causes to the personal defects of a few bad apples in the basketball community. So why is this happening?

The causes grow out of important shifts in the structure and resulting culture of the basketball community itself. Understanding the proliferation of boundary crossing behaviors, requires an assessment of how personal experiences are shaped by social factors built into the basketball community in which we all operate.

The past 15 years or so have witnessed the ascent of elite travel grassroots basketball clubs with the Philadelphia basketball community. Guys like Lonnie Lowry (K-Low Elite), Kamal Yard (Philly Pride), Terrell Myers (WeRone Hoops), Rob Brown (Team Final) and Paul Gripper (Team Phenom) have at various times assembled groups of highly talented youngsters and barnstormed across the country with varying degrees of success. The opportunity to play in very nice venues against the top players in the country is, understandably, very attractive to youngsters and their parents.

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There are many positive aspects to the travel team experience. More than ever, Philadelphia kids get an opportunity to been seen by coaches from different parts of the country. In one weekend, a young man can play in front of 300-500 Division 1 coaches. In recent, years several Philadelphia area players have completed their senior HS season with no Division 1 and picked up 15 or more offers in April-May based solely on their performance in AAU/Grassroots events. There is undeniably a lot of good!

But what are some of the social costs associated with rise of elite travel ball in our community?

The erosion of boundaries within the Philadelphia basketball community has accompanied the shift away from recreation center-based, neighborhood focused youth basketball programs.

Everyone is scrambling for a spot on a sponsored team…

Elite travel basketball at the highest levels is fully funded by major athletic shoe companies (Nike, Adidas and Under Armour). These public traded multi-billion dollar companies have each established separate summer “circuits” where their teams compete against one another.

The sponsored clubs typically have have 2 or 3 teams that are “fully sponsored.” The shoe companies pay the costs associated with travel, lodging, feeding and clothing these clubs as they traverse from city to city playing in front of college coaches eager to evaluate and gain access to the finest players.

As evidenced by the high profile scandals involving NBA Agents, financial advisors and coaches at Louisville, Arizona, Auburn and South Carolina… Shit gets tricky when thousands of dollars are involved.

The budgets for sponsored teams can range anywhere from $75,000 to $200,000+ for team loaded with potential NBA players.

The insertion of money has resulted in a massive change in the culture. The mere existence of an opportunity to profit has resulted in men violating and regularly trampling boundaries that were once firmly established.

Shit done changed…

At the core of it, one has to question the continued existence of the all important adult/child distinction… Organizations like the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League was run by a core of dedicated volunteers. Men like James Flint, Claude Gross, Tee Shields, Fred Douglas, Tee Parham and Vince Miller were former great high school players committed to developing young men into responsible adults. The teams were neighborhood-based and in most case you had to earn your way onto the team.

There was no money involved for the coaches… There were no flights across country to Los Angeles or Las Vegas… No all expenses paid trips to Chicago, Orlando or Atlanta.

Just a game against Germantown on North Broad Street at McGonigle.

These MEN were not going to compromise their values. For what? They were willing to confront disruptive parents… They were willing to dismiss unruly players…

“Get the fuck out of my gym with that bullshit” was a fairly common refrain amongst these guys…

The Philadelphia basketball community controlled the spaces dedicated to High School and youth basketball… This is no longer the case…

Fast forward to the contemporary era… the motivations are different… Money has negatively impacted the Philadelphia basketball culture…

Clubs, inevitably, feel pressure to attract the best collegiate prospects… Ultimately, the shoe companies want to sell shoes… The primary way they accomplish this is by having superstars wear their shoes… Kevin Durant (Nike), Lebron James (Nike), Steph Curry (Under Armour) and James Harden (Adidas) some of the biggest names.

The pressure to attract and keep talented players has resulted in a widespread compromising of values… Many in the basketball community excuse the inexcusable and forgive the unforgivable…

Times have changed for the worse…

It is impossible to imagine Claude Gross calling a 13-14 year old boy everyday begging him to play for South Philly… It’s also hard to imagine a mother and father in the 70s, 80s or 90s allowing a adult male stranger to call her son every single day for months trying to get him to play with a club…

“Leave my son the FUCK alone”… I can just imagine the responses during that era…

Today, it’s all good… Parents want their kids to play with sponsored teams so badly they allow unfettered access to boys with 8:00 pm bedtimes… WTF?

Parents want to be ranked and receive scholarship offers as early as the 9th and 10th grade… They apply incredible pressure on youth and high school coaches when they feel their child is not receiving the accolades due to him… Imagine a Dad sitting behind the bench cursing at Vince Miller about playing time for his son…

Trying to attract the best clubs and their registration fees, event promoters openly and brazenly seek to destroy business opportunities for other event organizers… Imagine Tee Parham trying to keep Fred Douglas from sponsoring a tournament…

Grassroots coaches encourage deceit, deception and disloyalty…”Fuck them, you should be over here… They ain’t taking care of you… You should leave them… Don’t tell nobody I talked to you…”

Imagine James Flint trying to steal a player from John Hardnett…

Adult fans make deeply hurtful negative public attacks on 15-18 year old boys… When kids play with another school or another grassroots program they become targets for senseless vilification… Imagine someone’s uncle writing that a kid is “bum” or “trash” in a newspaper 20 years ago…

Packs of young men and boys follow and support their friends in a socially unacceptable manner… Competition turns into strife… Crowds resort to violent assaults to resolve verbal disputes… Imagine fans at a Sonny Hill League game stomping the parent of one of the players…

Neighborhood beefs are resolved through murders at games… Imagine a man being shot on North Broad St after leaving a Sonny Hill or Baker League game…

Things have truly changed for the worse…

A few (40-60 kids) are better off… They travel across the country, play in great events against top competition… They are seen up close by college coaches eager to offer scholarships…

The vast majority, and the City as a whole, are much worse off because the recreation-based, neighborhood focused programs have been decimated in the process… The values and important boundaries that were once well established and consistently reinforced in these programs have been obliterated…

As a first step, we should work to strengthen and support organizations like the Ralph Brooks Community League, BAA League, Retroaction Sports and the Chosen League. We need these leagues and organizations to flourish… We need the values promoted within these groups to spread and once again become the norm in Philadelphia.

Many of the younger (30 and under) members of the basketball community grew up in this new era… They have no real frame of reference for an adequate comparison…

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Sonny Hill League

They could not imagine Mr. Hill at 5’7” 150 lbs bringing an entire gym to halt and complete silence because a guys shirt was not tucked in… Everything stopped… No talking, no playing… No nothing until the shirt was tucked back in and Mr. Hill was finished talking…

We are much worse off as a result…

Basketball beefs are corny…

Black Cager Solutions: Recent Work for “Full Court Press on ALS”

Full Court Press on ALS is an non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to increasing awareness about ALS and funding on-going research projects seeking a cure for this horrible disease.

Black Cager Solutions has partnered with Full Court Press of ALS to create digital content and evaluate the full spectrum of platforms (both traditional and emerging) to determine where target audiences may be underpriced to reach.

We have created a Youtube video that vividly captures the experience of a Full Court Press on ALS Game.

 

For another Full Court Press on ALS game we utilized the Vimeo platform.

 

Leading up to the Full Court Press on ALS games, we created digital “posters” that were distributed on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These posters were widely viewed and shared by members of the Philadelphia basketball community.

 

During the event, we capture images and video and upload them to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.

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We create and disseminate Press Releases through a wide range of digital channels.

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We look forward to working with you to help your Sports Organization gain attention. Black Cager Solutions is totally transparent throughout the process. We explain the our approach to all marketing tools. We provide clients with exact details of all media purchased. The resulting engagement and viewing data associated with those purchases are fully and openly shared with clients, including all rates paid, detailed performance metrics, and anything else the clients may need.

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Black Cager Solutions                                                                                        blackcager@gmail.com

 

ALWAYSLIVE and Black Cager announce strategic partnership to provide high-quality youth basketball events

Philadelphia and Paterson, NJ. — January 1, 2018 — ALWAYSLIVE and Black Cager Sports Media on Monday announced a strategic partnership to provide high-quality youth basketball events. The two innovative youth-basketball focused companies are teaming up to integrate their services and provide a series of highly competitive grassroots youth basketball events for boys and girls throughout the Mid-Atlantic region (NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD & DC).

With the rapid expansion of grassroots/AAU basketball, it has become increasingly important for club directors, coaches and parents to leverage participation and gain increased access to coaches offering scholarships. ALWAYSLIVE maximizes the recruiting exposure and visibility of student-athletes pursuing college scholarships and other athletic advancement opportunities. The name of the service describes its purpose of providing college coaches and recruiters year-round access to NCAA-compliant student-athlete profiles and game performance data. Why should players limit their advancement opportunities to the few periods a year the NCAA allows in-person viewing of games and personal contact when they can be ALWAYSLIVE?

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“The ALWAYSLIVE platform takes recruiting exposure to the next level by combining cutting-edge technology with years of industry experience to connect players with college recruiters,” said Darryl Jacobs, Regional Director for ALWAYSLIVE. “We capture complete game video, statistics and player data… all of this is uploaded and assigned to player profiles. The resulting enhanced player profiles are made searchable by and shareable with recruiters, coaches, fans, and other players across major social media platforms enhancing player visibility.”

“We are committed to providing a platform for players to display their talents and introducing young people, especially minorities, to the business side of sports,” said Delgreco K. Wilson, Executive Director of Black Cager Sports Media. “Our partnership with ALWAYSLIVE will make it easier than ever to help kids get attention from college recruiters and provide entry-level jobs as well as internships for minority youth interested in Sports and Event Management as a career.

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Participants in ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager events can do the following:

1. create their own player profile (FREE) and manage any related data already in the
system, including setting public/private options for total control of profile data.

2. enhance their profile by providing additional information about themselves such as
awards and recognitions earned, upcoming event and tournament schedule, academic
information (i.e., GPA and SAT/ACT scores) and contact information (i.e., email, social
media handles, etc.).

3. Players will also be able to upload and associate additional content with their player
profile, including photos and links to existing online videos and social media mentions.

4. The ALWAYSLIVE platform allows the player to share any or all content from their profile via email, text or major social media platforms.

Through the ALWAYSLIVE platform, College Coaches can access:

1. our collection of student-athlete player profiles. These profiles include complete game videos, advanced stats and enhanced player information available in NCAA-compliant formats.

2. Recruiters can search for players by any number of biological, geographical, academic and performance data points to quickly identify the best recruits.

3. If a recruiter is interested in a player, they have the option to request contact through the platform. ALWAYSLIVE brokers all initial requests for contact between subscribers for privacy. Only if both parties agree will the contact proceed.

The schedule of ALWAYSLIVE/Black Cager events will be release in the next few weeks.

About ALWAYSLIVE
ALWAYSLIVE maximizes the recruiting exposure and visibility of student-athletes pursuing college scholarships and other athletic advancement opportunities. The name of the service describes its purpose of providing college coaches and recruiters year-round access to NCAA-compliant student-athlete profiles and game performance data.
www.always.live

About Black Cager Sports Media
Black Cager Sports Media is a minority owned, basketball focused media company. Black Cager produces content across a wide range of platforms including print, Blogs, taped studio shows and live-streaming scholastic/Grassroots events. Black Cager Sports Media is dedicated to increasing opportunities for minorities in the multi-billion dollar sports industry.
www.blackcagersports.com
www.delgrecowilson.com

 

Press Contacts

Darryl Jacobs, Regional Director, ALWAYSLIVE – darryl.jacobs@createforce.com

Delgreco K. Wilson, Executive Director, Black Cager Sports Media – blackcager@gmail.com