The History of the Provincial Black Basketball Association
In 1972, as part of a Black Exposition organized by the Black United Front, Bryan Darrell was requested to organize a basketball tournament. The tournament brought teams from various black communities together to play ball. The reward for the winning effort was the ability to say that their community was the best in the province.
The Black Expo was very successful however, for some reason, it was never repeated. Bryan Darrell felt that the tournament was too important an event to drop. For two years he continued to put on the tournament. Each year the event grew and the caliber of the basketball improved. Finally in 1975 Bryan registered the organization with Province of Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks as a non-profit organization and the association became a legal entity. A Board of Directors was put together and a constitution established.
The original Board of Directors was composed of Dwight Hampton, Carl Gannon, Clayton Gannon, Terry Symonds, Chuck Smith and Bryan Darrell. The objective of the organization was to host a basketball tournament on an annual basis that would allow Black Communities throughout the province to showcase their athletic talent. At the time there were few local black athletes continuing their education beyond the secondary school level.
This event gave those individuals one last time to play organized ball in front of an audience. The proceeds from the event were to be redistributed among the participating communities in the form of financial assistance for various community oriented projects.
As the number of Blacks attending post secondary institutions in the area increased the scope of the project changed. In 1977 a second division was created. The B division was for recreational teams. This was for teams that represented local communities and were composed of players that played high school ball. A high energy level and a great deal of crowd appeal and support usually characterized this division. The A division was composed of CIAU and Senior level players. Teams from Toronto, Montreal, New York, Boston and New Jersey converged in Halifax for the weekend. The caliber of ball played in this division is second to none in Canada.
In 1980 the board was expanded to include Wendell Skeir, Phil Gannon and Irvine Carvery. The event has grown in a number of dimensions. It is no longer just a basketball tournament. It has become a cultural event. An interesting flow has developed between the two divisions. Youth growing up in the province start by playing in the B division. As they mature and go to university they advance to the A division and compete with some of the best in the country.
In 1995, a C division was added to the tournament. This provided a venue for players over 35 years of age to once again show their athletic ability. The addition of the C division allowed members of the community who had grown up with the tournament to remain actively involved.
The weekend becomes an old home week where friends and relatives come back to Nova Scotia to see their home community, childhood friends and to have a good time.
There are only two players that had played in the tournament over thirty years. There is one player that has played in all thirty-five years and there are several that have played in the tournament for over twenty years. This event has become one of the largest and certainly one of the most important events in the Black Canadian Social Calendar.
In 2001 the Board was further expanded to include Shawn Mantley and Tracey Thomas our first female Board member. Shawn Mantley, Irving Carvery and Tracey Thomas left the Board in 2004 for personal reasons
The PBBA has made donations to organizations such as the local Churches, Cultural Awareness Youth Group, and the Community YMCA to name a few.
In 2004 the Board of Directors added three long- term Provincial Black Basketball Invitational Tournament volunteers Chris Downey, Les Clyke and Cecil Wright to the Board. Also in 2004 the Board added a D division for females, this would allow females to participate as well be a spectator.
In 2005 the PBBA developed a scholarship for Black Students attending St. Mary's University and then expanded this scholarship from one to two in 2007.
We've also added Sammy Smith of North Preston in 2006. In 2006 we added a Youth Skills Clinic for younger children and also a Youth Tournament was added in 2007.
In 2010 the Board added an E Division for players 45 years and older, this division was formed to accommodate players that progressed through all the other levels of the Tournament and still wanted to compete.
On March 6th, 2012 long-time Provincial Black Basketball Invitational Tournament volunteer Virginia Hinch was added to the Board, she is currently the only female member. During the Fall of 2012 Cecil Wright, Chris Downey and Les Clyke left the Board for personal reasons.
One our original board members, Dwight Hampden and another long serving board member Wendell Skeir, have decided to retire from the Board early in 2103. The Board would like to wish them success in their future endeavours.
2014 will marked the Provincial Black Basketball Association's 42nd consecutive year as sponsor of the Black Invitational Tournament. We hope that you will all come out to enjoy and participate in this year's celebration. It is because of you, the community at large and the fans, that this tournament has been the successful over the years. We hope that you continue to support the Tournament & the PBBA, so that the legacy will continue for our children and our culture.
Created by: Carl Gannon -- Last updated:Feb 18, 2014