Twenty-seven points, seven rebounds and four assists from MVP Andre Barrett helped team Gold’s Gym win its first championship in the Nike Pro City Tournament that took place on August 6 at Baruch College. The final score was 120 to 90 in a straight-out dog show between defending champs Nike 1 and underdogs GoldâÂÂs Gym.
âÂÂAll the team has to do is control the tempo of the game and put a body on every man and weâÂÂll be fine,âÂÂ said John Strickland, coach of GoldâÂÂs Gym team in a pre-game speech. It was Gold GymâÂÂs first time championship game. Strickland made footprints in Nike Pro City history by becoming the first player/coach to win a championship.
The Nike Pro City tournament raises money to build community centers for kids in under-served neighborhoods. After winning previous citywide tournaments, adult players – or Big Dogs – from leagues at GoldâÂÂs Gym and Nike 1 faced off in Pro City.
Before the tip-off, the teams huddled and swayed, yelling âÂÂLetâÂÂs go!âÂÂ and âÂÂThis is our house!âÂÂ as the playerâÂÂs names were announced. Ten men took the court and the game began.
It was a competitive first half but the hunger for victory showed more in the players of Gold’s Gym. Coming out in the first quarter, pushing the tempo of the game and getting mostly fast break points was an advantage for Gold’s Gym, whose players were younger than those on Nike 1, and quickly tired them out. By the end of the first quarter the score was 20 to 14 and predictions on who would win the game rumbled through the crowd.
The second period started off with a powerful dunk by Tyrone Grant that made the rim squeak and gave Nike 1 fans hope for their title-defending squad. But after three minutes of the second quarter the pace was slow, going into halftime with Gold’s Gym leading 58 to 43.
Starting the third quarter, âÂÂEye of the TigerâÂÂ must have been playing in BarrettâÂÂs head since he came out hitting three consecutive 3-pointers from the same spot. This shooting performance lowered the momentum of Nike 1, allowing team Gold to take advantage of the game and extend their lead going into the fourth quarter with the score of 88 to 60.
By the start of the fourth quarter both teams knew who the winners would be but the final celebration included both teams with smiles, trash talk and a bet on who would win next year.