Two Detroit brothers that both play professional hoops are coming home this week for the International Hoops Expo. The three-day event is part camp, part exhibition and part education for those wanting to someday follow in their footsteps onto the hardwood of the professional ranks of the NBA or into professional leagues overseas.
From June 20-23, Jordan and Joe Crawford, brothers from Detroit, will gather with some of their hoop friends to give back and demonstrate their skills. More than just a show, they see this as an opportunity to expose young people to professional sports as something attainable.
“I remember being a kid and Grant Hill came and spoke to us. Joe and I decided then that we were going to play in the NBA someday,” says Jordan Crawford, guard for the Boston Celtics. “I love coming back to Detroit and doing this.”
Jordan explains: “My brother and I have been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to play basketball for a living. We all know that not everyone who grows up playing the game will get to play professionally, or in the NBA. I’ve had the benefit of seeing my brother, former coaches and teammates and many of the top women players take the overseas route to expand their career options. This is why Joe and I are doing this. We want to show, particularly young people, that there are many opportunities around the world to develop rewarding careers in the sports industry on and off the court.”
The name Jordan Crawford may be familiar to basketball fans. Back in 2009, it was Jordan that caused quite a stir when he threw down a monster dunk on King James (LeBron) during the NBA MVP’s LeBron James Skills Academy. Ironically, that was a summer camp, similar to the International Basketball Expo.
Brother Joe Crawford sees this as a dream come true, “I am super excited to bring this expo to Detroit,” adds Joe. “Since graduating from Renaissance High School in 2004 and going on to play professional basketball here in the U.S. and around the world, I’ve discovered so many opportunities that I want to share with young people, many of whom have the same dreams I had growing up in Detroit.”
Joe played college ball at the University of Kentucky and Jordan played for Indiana and Xavier. Joe played professionally for the Maccabi Rishon LeZion in Israel most recently and is working his way back to full competitive strength following an injury during his time abroad. Watching him shoot around with brother Jordan during an impromptu practice, it probably won’t be long before he is back out on the court.
There is quite an impressive list of players from the NBA and international ranks lined up for the events. They include:
Former sixth man of the year and U of M standout Jamal Crawford;
2013 rookie 1st team member Bradley Beal;
All Star wing guard and 2013 most-improved player Paul George;
2013 slam-dunk champion Terrence Ross
During what the brothers are calling the Powerball Sports Forum section of the camp, industry pros will give attendees insight on the game beyond the basketball court.
Aaron Mintz – U of M alumnus and sports agent at Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency;
Pamela McGee – Flint native, retired WNBA and Olympic gold medal champion,
Earle Higgins -Retired pro basketball player and President, Pro-Tech Group, Inc.;
A.J. Mitnick -Team scout, Rishon, Israel professional basketball team
Dr. Patrick Khaziran, D.C.- Doctor of Chiropractic, Advanced Chiropractic Rehab Center, Los Angeles, CA
Pamela Long -President, RIP City Foundation, mother of Richard Hamilton
The main event for both brothers, other pro players and fans is the International Pro Basketball Exhibition Game, held in the Renaissance High School gymnasium.
Other International Hoops Expo events will take place at several venues around the city. Visit the event website at InternationalHoopsExpo.com for more information, including schedules and prices.