Marcus Owens muffled under his breath before Team Rumph Classic’s Saturday matchup with AEBL, proclaiming they weren’t losing a second straight, after falling to Miami Pro League the previous night.
He and Viola “Ms. Candy” Owens both sat courtside in reserved seats. They watched representatives of the foundation they helped create nearly two decades ago in honor of their kin, the late Danny Rumph, battle with the best leagues in the country at the Mecca of Pro-Am basketball —King Drew Magnet High School in Los Angeles.
Ms. Candy repped a powder blue Rumph jersey. Marcus had the white one. Both donning Rumph’s number 11. And both admitted to feeling the nerves ahead of the bounce back, 87-65, win over AEBL.
For them, and for the entire Philadelphia delegation represented in the three-day round-robin tournament, it was about more than basketball. For Marcus and Ms. Candy to see the Rumph Classic logo hanging on banners around one of the most famous gyms in the world was “surreal.”
While they took the time to appreciate how far the foundation and league has come, they were just as locked into the game at hand.
Midway through the third quarter, Atlanta had a sideline out-of-bounds play right in front of their seats.
Marcus encouraged Samme Givens and Rich Grandberry to switch defensive matchups before the play. Givens heard the advice, considering the swap. Ultimately he ignored it, and as Marcus admitted, it likely motivated him against the bigger defender.
Atlanta inbounded the ball into the short corner. Givens smothered his defensive matchup, coming up with a strip and firing the ball out to his younger brother, Shannon, for a transition bucket.
Marcus sat up in his seat the whole way, capturing much of the action on his phone. Ms. Candy sat back, a bit calmer, but enjoying the action nonetheless.
A mere 17 years ago was the first Danny Rumph basketball tournament. Now, Rumph’s mother and uncle get to travel across the country to see Danny’s name represented on a national stage.