The Tristate Classic
The Tristate Classic has been a staple in the New York City basketball scene for over a decade. I managed to catch up with the commissioner, Coach Mousey, for a few words about his tournament, some history of his days coaching and his vision for the Tristate Classic moving forward. The venue for this tournament is the famous Colonel Charles Young Courts located on 145th and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, NY. The court is legendary in Harlem and has a rich history attached to it.
Mousey has been coaching for over 20 years. During that time he received his notoriety from coaching Fat Joe’s Terror Squad team, Diddy’s Bad Boy team, and Mousey’s Dream Team at the other major tournament in Harlem. Coaching these teams would shine a spotlight on Mousey and show the world his talents. Championship after Championship accumulated and Mousey set his sights on a new goal. That goal was to establish his own tournament and build that tournament up to be the best in the city. Having already built a winning reputation, he was provided the opportunity to have his TriState Classic sponsored by Jordan Brand. This is a huge deal because the Tristate classic became the only NYC based tournament sponsored by the Jordan Brand. His tournament gives youth a chance to develop their game and build confidence. His program starts out with players as young as 8 years old and maxes out at the college division, so these players get to develop and mature their game with Mousey’s tournament.
If a player was good in the New York City area Mousey knows about him, has coached him, or both. His reputation is that of a winner so sticking around him would be nothing but beneficial. We spoke about the state of basketball in New York City. Mousey said “we’re definitely in a good place. The only reasons you don’t hear about a player is because they leave… But they’re still New York! You can’t take that away!”. Basketball in New York was once dominated by the unlimited division where grown men and a select few youth would showcase their talent. Nowadays you see nothing but High School basketball getting the notoriety. Mousey takes partial responsibility for that because it was him who stopped the unlimited games in order to showcase the youth. Other tournaments and leagues followed suit and the High School game was elevated to being top priority in the city. A lot of these High School players go on to earn scholarships at division 1 programs and some even make the NBA. He’s had the opportunity to coach a lot of high powered talent in his day including Ron Artest, Eric Barkley, Elton Brand, Charles Jones, Kareem Reid and many more.
August 20th is Alimoe Day. This is the day we honor the life Tyron “Alimoe” Evans aka “The Black Widow”. Alimoe was a basketball player from Harlem, NY who made a strong impact on the basketball world. Alimoe was actually one of my favorite players all time. He was a very unique talent, and at 6’7 he possessed some of the craziest handles that you ever seen. He would engage the crowd and light up a game by talking trash to his opponent then backing that talk up with his play. Charismatic and witty, Alimoe’s personality would always shine. He passed away in 2013 and the entire basketball culture was dealt a blow. It was hard to deal with the reality that a person so young and full of life would be gone in an instance. Very few people were hurt more than Mousey. Mousey and Alimoe were very close.
During my sit down with Mousey I brought up Alimoe and he broke down. Fighting back tears he told me he couldn’t even go on to speak about him at them moment but that Alimoe was one of the players who put him on the map and truth be told we probably wouldn’t be there having the interview if it weren’t for him. Alimoe Day and the Tristate Classic would go on to be synonymous with an entire days worth of festivities that showcases the regions best talent. Every year the event grows larger and larger. This year would be no different. Salute to all of Alimoe’s friends and family and may his memory continue to live on.