Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the February 5, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Prime Time Shootout’s LeBron James Connection
Basketball sensation LeBron James, originally the
attraction at the PrimeTime Shootout, the nationally recognized
high school basketball tournament coming to Trenton’s Sovereign Bank
Arena, Friday through Sunday, February 7 to 9, is now the poster boy
for all that is wrong with big time athletics. But the tournament
itself may still be a showcase for how a community can leverage such
a showcase in a positive way.
Transportation, started the PrimeTime Shootout tournament 24 years
ago. Over the years it has become a premiere showcase for high school
talent, drawing scrutiny from NBA scouts and college recruiters. Jay
Williams and Tyson Chandler of the Chicago Bulls, Eddie Griffin of
the Los Angeles Clippers, DaJuan Wagner of the Cleveland Cavaliers,
and Al Harrington of the Indiana Pacers are among the NBA stars who
have played in past Shootouts.
Managing the tournament for the first time this year is Isles,
nonprofit community development corporation led by founder, president,
sales and corporate sponsorships, Isles is working to make the annual
non-profit event a fundraiser for the organization, which is dedicated
to fostering more self-reliant families in healthy, sustainable
Last year LeBron James, the Number 1 player in the country at St.
Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, generated "a
amount of interest," says
communications for Isles. "Jeff Hewitson wanted the St. Vincent
team to come back and he asked Marty to help him make that
Why did Hewitson asked for Johnson’s help in this? It happens that
Hewitson was asking Johnson to lobby his own high school alma mater.
As a youth Johnson, still described by colleagues as a "sports
fanatic," played basketball and football for St. Vincent High
School in Akron, Ohio. He went on to become a recruited athlete at
Princeton University, a member of the Class of 1981. And today he
is the father of three athletic teenaged sons.
As Johnson talked to his former St. Vincent basketball coach, now
the school’s athletic director, and his former football coach, now
a member of the school’s board of trustees, to help make this happen,
his interest in the tournament grew.
"Marty became intrigued with the event, and saw an opportunity
there for Isles and for the city of Trenton," says Page. "He
saw it as an opportunity to make Prime Time shootout an annual
event, an opportunity to introduce Isles to many more people, and
as an opportunity to grow a hospitality industry in Trenton."
Prior to the James ruling, Page had expected the tournament to fill
the Marriott Hotel on at least one of the tournament’s three nights.
But in the true spirit of amateurs and non-profits everywhere, the
Trenton sponsors are not throwing in the towel. They point out that
the tournament field still includes the top four high school teams
in the nation and 14 high school All-Americans — not counting
Sponsorship and promotional opportunities are available by calling
Trenton games, priced from $12 to $25, are available at the arena
box office and from Ticketmaster.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.