Ananth Pandian has a beard, two little dogs and owns too many esoteric basketball related t-shirts. He lives in Boston and he’s addicted to the NBA and ChapStick.
DC’s Goodman League has basically been involved in every single basketball exhibition that has taken place these past few months. With a commissioner like Miles Rawls you will begin to realize why.
Rawls has been running things at the Goodman for the last fifteen years while working full time at the Department of Homeland Security. Born and raised in DC, Rawls has street cred for days and is even able to heckle President Obama.
I caught up with Rawls to talk about his summer, Durant, and the Goodman’s place in summer basketball.
TBJ: You have been one of the busiest people in the country this summer with all of the different games the Goodman League has competed in.
Miles Rawls: We are busy every summer, but due to the lockout, these summer leagues across the country have taken notice that the Goodman is for real and have been challenging us. We have been getting more exposure than we normally get, thanks to these lockout games. But all that does is solidify what we have been saying for the longest time — we are a legitimate summer league.
TBJ: I know you have been running the league for about 15 years, has this been the busiest summer for you?
MR: Oh yeah. Normally after our season, we are done. The biggest game we ever did was the first AND1 game, but that didn’t have half the media coverage that our match-up with the Drew League had (Capital Punishment). That game was totally off the charts.
TBJ: It seems like Kevin Durant has been playing in every single exhibition game.
MR: He’s not playing on Friday though (Goodman v EBC). Its his birthday weekend. When he is available for me, he will play. Its his birthday so I gave him a pass, as long as he doesn’t miss that rematch in LA on Oct. 9th (laughs).
TBJ: What is your relationship like with Kevin?
MR: I known him since he was in high school. He started playing at the Goodman when he was a little scrawny kid, I think he was at Oak Hill at that time. We have a good relationship as far as on the basketball court, he’s a good kid. We haven’t seen a NBA guy represent DC like Kevin has since Steve Francis.
TBJ: With all of the different exhibitions the Goodman has played in, what have been some of your favorite moments?
MR: Of course the LeBron game (Melo League v Goodman). Anytime you get to see LeBron that up close and personal, its a treat. Along with Melo, Chris Paul — that was a good game. But the Drew League game was one of the most competitive games I have seen in a while. From end to end, it was competitive. No giggling. Normally when you get a bunch of NBA guys together they get to BSing around but not at this game.
TBJ: How are you feeling about the rematch with the Drew League? Think they will get the victory since they have the home court advantage?
MR: They are feeling good about being at home, but I think its gonna be another high intensity game with the same result. Jeff Green isn’t available but we should have the same roster on my end, so I don’t see any problem coming away with the victory.
TBJ: Let’s talk a little about the upcoming game against EBC. Who’s making up your team?
MR: Jeff Green, Donte Greene, Greg Monroe, Sam Young, Baby Shaq, Mike Beasley. I got a good 8-man roster. I am looking for a shooting guard though. Thought I had Gary Neal but he had some prior obligations. We got enough to go up there and get it done though.
TBJ: I spoke with Greg from EBC the other day…
MR: Was he talking smack?
TBJ: (Laughs) Actually he wasn’t talking smack, he was being real cordial. I asked him who was going to come away with a victory, his team or yours, and he said it will be a victory for both teams because the fans will get to see what they wanted to see. What do you think?
MR: Oh we are taking the win. I will include all that other stuff he said as well but we are coming to win.
I am looking forward to it though. I been wanting to travel up to New York to watch a game at the Rucker, but it coincides with our games so I never made it up there. I have a lot of respect for what Greg does. When I was coming up, all I heard about was the Rucker. I never heard of the Drew League or any of these other leagues. All you heard about was Rucker Park when it came to summer basketball.
But they know about us now. The Goodman League can be in the big boy conversations. Before I couldn’t get to that table because they didn’t know. Now they know. I can sit at the head of that table and have a big say in that conversation.
TBJ: So after the Drew League rematch in October — think you guys will be done?
MR: We are trying to do a Melo rematch but Melo is ducking us. He says he has all these other obligations but I keep telling him to clear his plate so we can get that rematch. We went down to Baltimore and faced his Olympic team but we took our loss like a man. But we want a rematch in DC. On our home turf, no one can beat us.