Wali Jones will be conducting the 10th annual “Little” Bobby Jones Memorial Clinic and Educational Workshop at the Carousel House, 4300 Avenue of the Republic, in Fairmount Park. The event will take place Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. with a basketball clinic for the special population kids.
There will be a special recognition ceremony for Fred McCray and Levi Bowen at the event. McCray and Bowen will be honored for their support over the years. They both have served for many years as recreational center directors. The awards ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m. After the presentation, there will be a student-athlete workshop and basketball clinic.
Jones, former Overbrook High, Villanova and NBA star, looks forward to this day every year. He has received quite a bit of support from family members Ernest Jones, Wilma Jones, Bobby Jones Jr. and Bill Jones over the years.
Everybody remembers Wali Jones in this town. He was an All-Public League standout at Overbrook High School. After that, he played for Villanova and was an All-Big 5 star. Of course, most people remember his playing days with the Philadelphia 76ers. Jones played on the 1966–67 NBA championship team, which featured Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer, Billy Cunningham, Chet Walker and Luke Jackson. For 20 years, he was a community affairs liaison with the Miami Heat.
This is a special event for the kids as well as the community. Jones really enjoys giving back. The nice thing about the event, which doesn’t get publicized as much, is the legendary basketball players who come out to the Carousel House. Three years ago, Jones brought the late Walt Hazzard to the basketball clinic along with Overbrook High’s Michael Jordan. A year ago, he recognized James “Tee” Parham as a Philadelphia basketball legend. Parham was a terrific player at Northeast High. He also played some great basketball in the independent leagues for several years.
These basketball greats attract other players from all across the city. The gymnasium inside the Carousel House is packed with former high school, college and NBA greats. They all come back to see people they haven’t seen in years. It’s one of the best basketball reunions in the city.
The former players hang around the recreation center for most of the day. Then, they go across the street in Fairmount Park where they have a barbecue that lasts well into the afternoon. More than 100 people are out there just having a good time, taking pictures and sharing some great basketball stories from back in the day.
This event has made a big difference in the community. It teaches kids about the fundamentals of the game. Jones has some great clinicians that work with him like Bill Baggett, Ken Hamilton, Bobby Jones Jr. and others. They also stress the importance of receiving a good education. They want the young people to know that basketball and academics will open doors for them down the road. Moreover, the message is delivered by a number of former players who come out to the event.