By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The hardwoods of the Palestra were put to good use during a President’s Day tradition – the Police Athletic League’s Citywide Basketball Championships.
The very same PAL Championships gave rise to stars like Olympic Gold Medallist Dawn Staley, the former Temple coach now at South Carolina, and NBA stars like Aaron Mckie, who played for the 76ers and is now an assistant coach with the club.
The next generation of college and pro stars played their championship games in the boy’s 10, 12, 14 and 16 and under categories.
14-year-old Devon Goodman, who goes to Germantown Academy, and 14-year-old Eli Alzin, who goes to the Mastery Charter School in Center City, had a terrific time playing the storied Palestra.
“It’s so big. I heard a lot of NBA and college players played here,” Goodman said. “The PAL program is good, because it keeps kids out of the streets.”
“I never played in a gym like this, said Alzin. “I heard alot of NBA players had played here.’
Lieutenant Bryan Anthony, the Commanding Officer of PAL, said the basketball program alone keeps five-thousand young people actively involved in quality programming.
“Absolutely. It’s a great experience,” said Anthony. “A lot of these kids will not have the opportunity to come into a place like this.”
PAL includes a network of centers serving girls and boys between the ages of six and 18.