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Playground / Jul 28, 2010 / 12:22 pm

There’s a Maniac Loose in New York City


If first impressions are as invaluable as everyone says they are, then Jermaine Wright has it all figured out. When the 37-year-old showed up to Harlem’s Lincoln Playground sporting a bright yellow headband and crazy purple shorts, it was clear he wanted the attention of the crowd. But by the end of Saturday’s Red Bull 2-on-2 Revolution Tour stop in New York City, Wright had fans talking more about his game on the court than his getup.

“We’re just two cats trying to bring our energy and our intensity and see if we can make it happen,” Wright said after registering “Heart of the Bronx” into the tournament with teammate Tyshaun Valentine.

Wright, a veteran at the legendary Entertainer’s Basketball Classic at Rucker Park, has been playing at some of Harlem’s most famous courts for nearly twenty years. But for the first time in awhile, “The Maniac,” as he’s known in the streetball scene, was dealing with a new type of challenge: Rondo’s Rules.

“Usually when you play 5-on-5, the responsibility falls upon five players on the court,” says Wright. “But with two players on the court, you gotta be a little more aggressive because it’s just you and your teammate, so you don’t have anybody to bail you out.”

After a hard-fought 21-18 victory over Team Bodysnatchers in the first round, Heart of the Bronx moved on to a second-round match-up against small but athletic squad calling themselves “Happy Endings.” Amid fiery controversy over referee calls and dealing with difficult size match-ups, Wright scored the winning bucket to advance as one of eight final teams with another 21-18 victory.

“We wanted that win, but they were guards and we’re forwards,” Wright said after the tournament. “We had a problem containing them off the dribble, so we decided to go inside.”

Playing with passion and heart, Wright looked nothing like a grizzled veteran on the court. By diving for looseballs and slamming home dunks with authority, The Maniac was making his presence felt in every aspect of the game. Unfortunately for his team though, a quarterfinal match-up against a physical and athletic Team Stacks would mark the end of Heart of the Bronx’s quest for a championship and the $2,000 reward. Even in a 22-14 loss, the guys from the Bronx kept their hopes up until the very last whistle.

“The bottom line is we didn’t play hard enough,” Wright said after the game. “My teammate got his knee banged up, so he really couldn’t give me much down the stretch. We tried to fight through it, but we fell short.”

Even after a disappointing loss, Wright left the court with enthusiasm and passion that defined his game on Saturday, already looking forward to the next Revolution Tour stop in NYC.

“We had a ball out there. The other team played hard and got that win, they deserved it,” Wright said. “We hope we can return again.”

A FEW SPOTS STILL REMAIN FOR THE PHILLY TOURNAMENT THIS WEEKEND!

You can still enter the Philly, Baltimore and D.C. brackets! Enter a team to play for $2,000 and other prizes from Power Balance, Skullcandy and Kicker! Email us at REVOLUTION@DIMEMAG.COM, fax us at 212.564.9219, or call us at 347.316.1924.

You can also download registration forms here:

Philadelphia – July 31 – Chew Playground (18th and Washington Avenue, South Philly)

Baltimore – August 7 – Cloverdale Park Basketball Courts

Washington, D.C. – August 21 – Barry Farms Rec Center

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  • control

    Is redbull paying for all these articles?

    2k is weak, and having Rondo as the headline name is weaker. A company like redbull can’t offer more than 2k for a prize? They are spending like 10x that just on these articles probably. Their DJ’s “redbull vehicle” had tvs and all of that shit all over it, they probably spent a solid 50k on the car…but are only giving 2k out as prize, that is weak. I’d rather play for fun in a tournament like this, than be insulted by a prize that is less than a week’s pay…

  • bobby stew

    I’m only 30 (and in good shape) and it’s hard for me to keep up with these young boys so I admire a 37 year old holding it down.

  • Sammy G

    @Control: I couldn’t agree w/ you more. 2K as a prize for a tourney that no-doubt had some top-notch comp and hyped all over the mags, websites, etc.? What a joke. Ante up, Redbull!

  • asmaticasiatic02

    much respect to wright for still killing cats at 37. I’m 32 and coming back from knee surgery but wanna keep ballin’ as long as i can. Its cool to see cats still doing it, especially when bball society claims that most ballers are basically washed up after 30. Guess just gotta change your game and focus on the mental not physical points of the game…

  • Steve Nash

    most of RedBull Sponsorship money was applied to insurance incase the players got hurt and wanted to sue

  • e

    maniac been balling 4eva up @ rucker and nike pro city