A jumbled crowd formed outside Gaither Gymanasium Saturday night as many waited to be let into the anticipated Demp Week Celebrity Basketball Game.
The impatient crowd swarmed from left to right as they were told how they could enter the entertainment-filled event. The game consisted of loud hip-hop music, a side-splitting comedian and plenty of well-known basketball talent.
The event gave students various reasons to attend. Among others were the innovative basketball maneuvers.
“I hope to see some really good ball play moves you don’t get to see in a traditional ball game,” said Alonda Thomas, a 25-year-old graduate student at Florida State University from Miami. “I hope to see more creativity in the dunking and the jooking, and I want to see the comedian Benji Brown, he’s really funny.”
Students seemed to have similar interest when it came to expectations for the game.
“I want to see a dunk or something to get me out of my seat,” said Tamira Robinson a 19-year-old Florida State biology student from Lakeland.
Members of Demp’s staff were elated to see the event come to pass.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the crowd and to see the student body enjoy themselves tonight,” said Ashley Worlds, an 18-year-old freshman business administration student from Tallahassee .
Many of the participants of the event came to support their friend, DJ Demp.
“We been supporting Demp since last year, we wanna have fun and give the fans a show, were doing this for charity,” said Reese, one of the starting players on the And 1 team.
While much of the crowd focused on the celebrities at the game, others rooted for the underdogs.
“I expect the underdog to win not the celebrities,” referee Ferderica Hulloman said.
“Underdogs gonna win by eleven,” said Peter Warrick , a member of the underdog team and also a player for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Other celebrities came out to support DJ Demp who weren’t basketball players, such as comedian Benji Brown and playground basketball legend Pee Wee Kirkland.
“He called me to come here to host and take part in this. I just want to entertain the people and have them cracking up while they watch the finest basketball players,” Brown said.
For some of DJ Demp’s celebrity friends, it took only one call for them to committ their support.
“I knew DJ Demp. I said no problem, I’m from the old school,” Kirkland said. “You do things from your heart, no money involved.”
Kirkland said he still supports street basketball because it is important.
“There wouldn’t be the NBA if it wasn’t for street basketball, it started with us and will end with us. The NBA in the beginning wasn’t basketball, it had one black player in the league, now it’s reversed,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland also gave the reason why he still loves street basketball.
“Pick and roll is not basketball, basketball is God-given talent, crossover, spin moves. Rucker Park is the mecca of street basketball, the greatest part of Rucker is the crowd’s reaction. The energy if the crowd came down and started dancing its acceptable that’s street basketball that’s real,” Kirkland said.
The game started with Brown singing a hilarious rendition of the national anthem and the crowd dancing before the tip was even thrown.
After plenty of unsuccessful 3-point attempts, the game got exciting with a high flying dunk from High Octane from the And 1 team and a handful of dribbling and passing tricks from And 1 players.
The underdogs seemed to have their hands full dealing with the quick hands and tricky skills of the And 1 players. Eventually, however, they got things under control and actually showed some dribbling skills and jumping ability of their own.
Street baller Hot Sauce taunted the underdogs with his dribbling skills all night including one-on-one matchups with the man of the night, DJ Demp, who Hot Sauce embarrassed.
“I came out to show some love to the community,” Hot Sauce said. “I’m just showing love to Demp.”
The second half told the same story with more dunks and more tricks but the more focused underdogs took the victory.
The star of the night was High Octane who walked away from the game with ten dunks and an ally-oop to himself.
“I’m just happy to be here,” High Octane said. “This is my second year in a row to put on a show. It’s a bigger crowd and a bigger show.”
In the end, DJ Demp seemed to be satisfied with the night
“I liked Benji Brown’s commentary and all my players showed up. “It could have been more people since we were doing it for charity,” Demp said.
Demp said he is looking forward to next year.
“I’m not really disappointed, I’m just glad everybody came out and I enjoyed the evening,” he said. “Next year, I hope more people come for a bigger Demp Week 2006.”
Contact Royce Wynn at firstname.lastname@example.org