Years ago, Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr were like many other kids in Philadelphia at the Rumph Classic–they wanted to be like the Morris twins.
Marcus and Markieff Morris have always represented Philadelphia on the basketball court, even more so when it comes to the Rumph Classic. Known to show up and put on dazzling display, the pair are synonymous with summer hoops in Philadelphia.
Stevens and Carr took their first step to be the faces of the event’s next generation, forming their own team, LOE, to compete.
“I always loved [the Morris twins’] game,” Stevens said. “I felt like that was a real motivator for me to get to where I am now. Watching those guys come up in this city and compete is just what I remember [of watching].”
“Any time FOE had a team, I made sure that I was here,” Carr said.
This weekend has long been a fixture of their calendars. Now, there’s a sense of responsibility to put on the shows that they became accustomed to watching.
Outside of his tremendous play, Stevens showed his understanding of that with a rim-rattling windmill dunk in the closing seconds of LOE’s Friday night win. Carr followed up Friday night’s fireworks with a lights out shooting exhibition on Saturday afternoon.
Both understand the meaning of the weekend goes well beyond their performances on the floor.
“It’s really [about] unity,” Stevens said of the weekend. “It’s the city coming together for a great cause, obviously for Danny Rumph passed away. It’s incredible to see all these people come together for a great cause.”
LOE features a familiar group for all involved.
Aside from Stevens and Carr, the group also featured Josh Sharkey, Nazeer Bostic and Ahmad Gilbert. The entire roster was littered with a number of friends and former teammates from years of high school and AAU seasons gone by.
The group hasn’t fully been together on the floor in what Carr estimates to be five or six years, and they’re not taking the chance to compete together for granted.
“[It] means a lot,” Carr said of the opportunity to play together. “We grew up in a brotherhood, we are a family. Anytime we can come together, play basketball or do whatever, I just try to cherish it.”
The moment is the fulfillment of childhood desire and a lot of careful planning.
Sure, kids everywhere want to grow up to do things on the basketball court like the Morris twins, like Stevens and like Carr. But there’s only one city on Earth where they grow up wanting to do it on this stage.
“It’s something that every kid in the city wants to play in,” Carr said of the Rumph Classic. “To come out and do that, it means a lot.”