Amidst much fanfare and buzz within the community, the highly anticipated Inaugural Yeshiva League Legends Tournament will take place this Monday, May 29 at Basketball City in Manhattan. This one-day, highly competitive basketball tournament is guaranteed to become the premier and most competitive Jewish basketball tournament our community has ever seen, as all-time Yeshiva League Legends return to the hardwood representing their alma mater. The inaugural tournament will feature 16 alumni legends teams, including teams from Frisch, YULA (Los Angeles), DRS, HAFTR, Rambam, North Shore, Valley Torah (Los Angeles), Ramaz, JEC, SAR, HANC, MTA, Ida Crown (Chicago), Kushner, Mesivta Ateres Yaakov, and TABC. Eligible players must have graduated from and played varsity basketball for their respective high schools.
Although some yeshiva league players may have the privilege of playing college basketball, for most, athletic stardom begins, peaks, and ends during a player’s high-school career. This unique, once-a-year opportunity to turn back the clock will allow players to truly experience this year’s theme: “Relive old rivalries, while creating new memories.” Each player will receive a personalized game jersey featuring their alma mater’s logo, their last name, as well as the same number they wore during their high-school career. “A tremendous amount of effort and resources have been invested in replicating the intensive and competitive game environment that players experienced in high school–the personalized jerseys and shorts, the warmup gear, the two professional referees and professional scorer for each game–every detail was truly done with excellence in mind,” explained tournament co-chair and YU basketball coach Elliot Steinmetz (who is also co-captaining the Rambam Ravens Legends Team).
Once again, the past rivalries of DRS vs. HAFTR, Frisch vs. MTA, and JEC vs. TABC will take center stage on the basketball court for players who have otherwise officially “retired” from the game they love; the highlights, the missed free-throw with the game on the line, and the game-winning buzzer-beater shots that retired players will always rehash and cherish are no longer just stories to reminisce about at the local shul Kiddush on Shabbos–players will now have the chance to continue their legacies and storied careers, expanding the narrative through the newly minted annual Yeshiva League Legends Tournament. The Yeshiva League Legends Tournament will forever be a place where legends not only return, but where new legends are born. In order to ensure a premier level of competition, the Yeshiva League Legends Tournament committee focused on selecting team captains and former players who have continued to remain active on the basketball court after high school, and can endure five or six full-court (20-minute) games in a single day. Although most players do not have the opportunity to play formally structured basketball after leaving high school, many of the players have actually improved their skills after high school through consistent recreational play.
As Rabbi Aryeh Young, executive director of Our Place explained, “If you were once a competitor, you’re always a competitor; this is the players’ chance to not only show themselves that they still have what it takes to be competitive on the court, but this is their chance for their wives and kids to see firsthand that their husband or father really was as great an athlete as all the stories make him out to be.”
The event is not just about the “fun;” it is about the “funds” that are being raised. Each participating team has committed to raise a minimum of $7,200 to participate. The brainchild of Rabbi Aryeh Young, the tournament is being run as a significant fundraiser to benefit Our Place. Our Place is New York’s largest network of drop-in centers for at-risk Jewish youth struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, past trauma, sexual abuse, and criminal behavior. On an annual basis, the Our Place drop-in centers service over 1,000 Jewish youth in the New York area, serving 25,000 hot meals, placing several hundred in rehab and therapy, and enabling 100+ to reenroll in school or seek positive employment each year. With an unadulterated model of unconditional love, Our Place’s devoted therapeutic and programmatic staff are available around the clock 24/7, as they do everything possible to give a second chance at life to hundreds of young people in our community each year who otherwise would have nowhere else turn. Our Place is their last hope. Overdose and suicide rates in our community continue to grow and the heroic staff at Our Place continue to fight this never-ending battle on the frontlines. Addiction and abuse do not discriminate against any community, and Our Place plays a vital role in helping so many of our young people ultimately lead a sober, productive, and meaningful life.
The entire community is invited to this year’s tournament, chaired and presented by Rachelle Rosenberg and Elliot Steinmetz of Rosenberg & Steinmetz PC. The tournament will take place at Basketball City, New York City’s premier, state-of-the-art basketball facility, located at Pier 36 in Manhattan, featuring seven indoor full-courts. Doors open at 9:15 a.m. and games tip off at 10:00 a.m. Playoffs will begin at 12:30 p.m. with the championship game commencing at 2:45 p.m. In addition to enjoying unparalleled basketball competition, featuring our community’s top talent, fans will receive an event T-shirt, enjoy a children’s carnival (12:00—2:30), and an extravagant, five-star Memorial Day barbecue lunch, including exclusive carvings, smoked meats, and a beautiful sushi presentation. On-site parking in Manhattan will also be included with every ticket purchased. All-inclusive tickets are just $20/person or $72/family.
In addition to Rosenberg & Steinmetz PC, Our Place extends its tremendous appreciation to High Life LLC, the Court Sponsor; Berg Bites, the Jersey Sponsor; Gourmet Glatt, GFI Realty & Arbor, the Gold Sponsors; and Ellkay Healthcare Data Plumbers, Klipped Kippahs, Hearing Solutions of Long Island, Eden Wok of New Rochelle, and Lightwave Energy, the Silver Sponsors. The Five Towns Jewish Times and Jewish Link of New Jersey are the exclusive media sponsors for this event.
For any questions or to inquire further about the Yeshiva League Legends Tournament or Our Place, please contact Rabbi Aryeh Young at 516-512-4494 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited sponsorship opportunities remain.