Bay Area Pro-Am gears up for tipoff 

One of San Francisco’s greatest strengths is the diversity of its people. This is apparent everywhere you look and is why the San Francisco Bay Area Pro-Am Basketball League offers a little bit of something for everyone.

Beginning today and lasting throughout the summer, everyone’s welcome to make their way to Kezar Pavilion, where admission is free, for the annual hoops showcase. Men’s play begins tonight at 8 p.m. with SF City taking on South Bay, while the women begin action Saturday at noon.

Founder Jon Greenberg says he made the league free so that it would be accessible for everyone.

“I felt that there was an opportunity to present a venue where people can come together and just have a good time during the summer,” Greenberg said of the league he created 31 years ago when he was recreation director at Potrero Hill Recreation Center.

Greenberg, who’s since retired but continues to take on the role of Pro-Am League director, says the league’s open roster policy gives way to a wide variety of player talent as well.

“It’s one of the few venues that I know of that on any given team you can have an ex-college ball player, a current college player, an ex-pro, a current pro and a high school player all on one team,” Greenberg said.

Over the years, the league has hosted countless NBA players, including Jason Richardson, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and Robert Parish.

Two former Warriors, Matt Barnes and Adonal Foyle, are the big names playing in the men’s section this year. On the women’s side, Courtney and Ashley Paris, originally from Piedmont High School, then Oklahoma and now the WNBA, are twin sisters coming in with a lot of hype. Both sides of the league have a number of players from Bay Area colleges, namely USF, Cal and Stanford.

Perhaps the most interesting team will be SF City, which has Foyle, a number of local college players, two D-League players, two players from Europe and 60-year-old Robert Taylor, who used to play in the Pro-Am years ago.

“I remember growing up watching him when I was little,” said Carl Jacobs, coach of SF City. “For this guy to come back at 60 and try to play is going to be something else.”


SF Bay Area Pro-Am

WHEN: Men’s league opens tonight, 8 p.m.; women’s opens Saturday, noon

WHERE: Kezar Pavilion, 755 Stanyan St., San Francisco

ADMISSION: Free

DEFENDING CHAMPS: Men, East Bay; Women, San Francisco

INFO: www.sanfranciscoproam.com

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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