The title game of the 52nd edition of the Proviso West Holiday Basketball Tournament on December 31 between Proviso East and Morgan Park in the school’s main gym was an "entertainment experience," according to Joe Spagnolo, the tournament’s director.
Players were introduced in dimmed lights to the Alan Parsons Project’s "Sirius," the same music the Chicago Bulls use in their player introductions at the United Center. Jim Cornelison, who sings the national anthem at Chicago Blackhawks games and occasionally at Chicago Bears games, did the same at the Holiday Tournament championship game. A large video board hung over center court, much like at a large college or professional arena.
While the Pirates ultimately lost their title defense 82-57, it was still a successful tournament, with more than 20,000 people attending games between December 22 and December 31, said Dr. Roudell Kirkwood, principal at Proviso West High School, who credited everyone involved with making the tournament a success.
"I thought changing from 16 to 32 teams was a big endeavor," Kirkwood said. "It took a lot of hard work [from everyone] who pulled together to make it happen. I think we had very positive reviews about the expansion of the tournament."
The tournament’s championship game was the last of 61 games held over nine days at the school. Featuring 32 teams, including two teams from outside of the Chicago area - Rockford Auburn and Crespi Carmelite of Encino, California – the tournament included games on a court brought into Proviso West’s field house. The tournament’s first team All-Tournament Team included Proviso East’s Paris Lee and a member of the Crespi Carmelite squad, London Perrantes, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Crespi Carmelite also won the consolation championship of the tournament, defeating Dunbar 66-45 on December 31.
The basketball games were not the only entertainment at the tournament.
Members of the teams in the tournament could hang out in the players’ lounge as they either waited for their games to begin or afterwards. There, they could play video games on one of four systems that had been set up, or they could get their hair cut.
In the field house, where a second basketball court had been set up for the consolation games in the tournament, fans could check out the Air Jordan branded fans’ lounge. They could answer trivia questions about pro basketball star Carmelo Anthony for a chance to win a T-shirt, or pose in an iconic position such as that in Michael Jordan’s famous "Wings" poster for a photo. Other students worked in volunteer capacities around the gym, selling snacks and water to benefit student groups.
"We had the whole entertainment experience," Spagnolo said. "We definitely went over the top."
Kirkwood said that he and the tournament’s organizers are already looking ahead to next year’s tournament.