A city filled with talent but broken dreams. Across the country many people connect the city of Baltimore with the HBO series, “The Wire”, where it gave an in-depth look at the drug trade of the 1990s. While the series is one of the greatest series in television history, the city has gained a negative connotation from it
Then you add the Freddie Gray trial that has been covered by national, and even international media, Baltimore is not a city recognized for prosperity.
As a resident of Baltimore, it’s my job to make sure those outside of my beautiful city know the hidden jewels that are within. One of those jewels is the Brunson League; the top summer pro-am basketball league in Baltimore City.
One thing Baltimore has been known for is basketball. Baltimore has a rich history of legendary ballplayers on each level. Ball players liked Mougsy Bouges, Reggie Lewis, Juan Dixon, and Carmelo Anthony have made Baltimore one of the premier cities for basketball. In the early 90s, summer time in the city meant classic street at the Madison Square Rec center, aka “The Dome”, located on Eden and Biddle street in East Baltimore. Midnight Madness was the biggest attraction in town, but that attraction slowed down as the years passed.
The Brunson League is looking to build that momentum back up. Started by a young man by the name of Sean Brunson, his main goal is to shed some positivity on a city that is in dire need of it. Currently in the third season, the league is steadily growing. I stumbled upon the league last summer, seeing pictures on the instagram of some big name players like Roscoe Smith out of UConn/UNLV and Devon Usher out of Delaware, both players coming out of Baltimore city High Schools, moving on to stints in the NBA D-League.
While “Scoe” and “Heads” were on the same squad, they did not win the title, proving that the competition is thick. The team that beat the two D-Leaguers went on to lose in the Championship game by 19 points.
Longwood and Dukeland - a squad based out of a west baltimore neighborhood - went on to win the 2016 Brunson League title. They were the most dominant team from start to finish, with a average margin of victory of 16 points. They’re team isn’t stacked with big name pro ball players but they are stacked with baltimore ballers. They are led by the reigning MVP, Devin Colston, who played his high school ball at Dundalk, averaging 30 points a game.
Colston, only in his second year of the league has a MVP, Tournament MVP, and league title under his belt. Last summer, he and his LND squad gave up a 19-point lead in the Finals, which gives the league an even better storyline. All great summer leagues have those teams and players that are staples and foundations for the league. Players that didn’t get the opportunity to shine on the big stage but can still outperform those players that are on that stage. Players like that are the ones that make a summer league and give it its essence i.e. Curt “Trouble” Smith for the Goodman League. Colston is on the verge of being that player for the Brunson League.
LND also had Sean Farr and Donte “Tater” Pretlow out of Dunbar High School, and Stanton Kidd out of Edmondson High School. Kidd missed the championship, having to leave earlier in the week for his pro basketball duties in Germany. Without him though the team was still potent.
For the Brunson League, the sky's the limit. With no other league in Baltimore city bringing in big name talent, their only competition is league in the greater Washington DC area like the Goodman League, Kenner League, Watts League, and PITTS League (who they will play August 28th). Next season, I expect to see more talent, more thick competition, and a even amped LND squad.