Paul McPherson is as Chicago as it gets on the basketball court — a star in high school (South Shore) and in college (DePaul), McPherson used his foundation as a baller in this city to take him to the NBA and top European leagues.
Now in the twilight of his basketball playing, McPherson is a mainstay in the Chi’s emerging pro-am circuit, having won two of the last three Nike Chi-League tournaments with the team Wright Sports, who took the 2015 title this past Sunday at Whitney Young in front of a packed house.
Here, McPherson speaks with Weareregalradio.com’s Kyle Means about what the Chi-League victory means to him and what more and more competitive summer basketball could mean to the city’s celebrated b-ball culture.
WARR: How’s it feel to pull off this victory?
PM: Felt good, it felt good. (Code Black) were the champions from last year, we were the champs from the previous year — a lot of braggin’ rights, this was West Side against South Side, the last two champions and a lot of talk throughout the city, all over the internet and Facebook, instagrams and twitters. A lot of beefing was going on but there was a couple of ex-pros out there — Penny Hardaway showed up but we blew them out, we had the whole game and I think we had the better team from the start.
It feels good to be back on top again, hopefully I’ll be done, this is my last time so I wanna go out on top like Jerome Bettis.
WARR: That’s what’s up, it’s like when the bus pulled up to Canton (Pro Football Hall of Fame)
PM: I just want to go out on top and chill. Its been 16 years, 37 years old still running up and down with these young fellas and it felt good, man.
WARR: It seems like there were a lot more OGs out there this year, a lot more stars, people who had time in the NBA…
PM: I think (Chi-League) did a great job with this event and hopefully they can continue to keep doing a great job with this event. Its good to see Scottie here, one of the top-50 players, Tim Hardaway, Penny Hardaway, Randy Brown came through, a lot of big time players came through and supported. So I’m really appreciative of Nike and its staff and everything they’ve done, it was a great event. I look forward to coming to watch it next year and the year after that.
WARR: No more playing?
PM: Naw, I think I’m done playing. I may play around socially but no more pro-ams and summer league tournaments for me, brother.
WARR: What do you think overall about the scene right now in Chicago in the summer time? It seems like it’s really poppin’ and there’s a lot more (tournaments) than there used to be…
PM: It is, a lot of tournaments, our tournament here, the million dollar tournament, its 3 or 4 different tournaments now so its no longer just one tournament where everyone got to cram in. Everybody can play, and Chicago is one of the basketball meccas to me, in my opinion.
I’m a little biased cause I was raised here but I definitely thing with Jabari, Jahlil, Anthony Davis, D-Rose — you’re looking at all the No. 1 picks — we got 4 No 1. picks in the last 8 years coming from Chicago, so I feel like the talent is still here, we’re only getting better. A lot of young players coming up, we got some great young players in high school, I’m loving the scene right now in Chicago and hopefully I can find a way to be a productive part of the older members giving back to the youth now.
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