2014 Story about C/C Inductee Banquet
On a warm and balmy June evening, when stars glistened in the Santa Barbara sky, a multitude of stars also aligned inside the Fess Parker Resort San Rafael/Santa Ynez Ballroom. The Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions exuded a shining moment for 23 Inaugural Inductee’s with the likes of Icon and NBA “logo” Jerry West leading the way. Mr. Clutch’s supporting cast was deep and rich in name and accolades. Hall of Famer Jamaal Wilkes, Denver Nuggets Head Coach Brian Shaw, longtime Santa Barbara resident and LA Laker guru Bill Bertka (38 years), and former UCLA Bruin player and coach Gary Cunningham name just a few of the dignataries who have impacted the Santa Barbara community on and off the hardwood floor for many years.
The eloquent ceremonies began with 6 year old Adeline Hoke singing two traditional patriotic songs, God Bless American and the National Anthem. Master of Ceremonies, Gerry Fall, Sports Editor of the Santa Barbara News Press, followed Ms. Hoke by addressing the audience of over 230, sharing the Mission and Purpose of the Court of Champions. Mr. Fall then introduced the Honorary Guest, Jerry West, who charismatically held the attention of all the patrons, sharing some of his past experiences in basketball while also acknowledging many of his friends…….. Inductee’s sitting with him at the Head Table.
Each of the Inductee’s shared briefly their memorable experiences, gratitude for family, friends and their passion for the game of basketball. The 3 hour Ceremony was captured by many media outlets. Time Warner Sports Network was present to garner the many Los Angeles Laker personnel in attendance. Backstage Lakers produced a documentary about the Court of Champions Event, which aired in February 2015. Breakers Basketball TV Network, Santa Barbara Newspress, Santa Barbara Independent, Casa Magazine, UCSB Nexxus Newspaper and UCSB Radio was also covering this Event for their targeted audience, respectively.
As local resident and former Santa Barbara HS, SB City College, UCSB and Los Angeles Laker star player Don Ford wrapped up his 10 minute “roasting” of Jerry West and other inductee colleague’s, Mike Klan, Sports Director for Keyt Channel 3, climaxed the evening moderating a Question and Answer session for audience guests. They were offered the opportunity to ask random questions to any of the 23 Inductee’s.
Closing out the evening, Curt Pickering, Court of Champions Director, gave his thanks to the Event Staff, Sponsors Tim Tremblay and Nick Zwick, the Media, family, friends and guests of the Inductee’s, game officials of the Senior High School All Star Game that was played the previous evening and singer, Ms. Adeline Hoke. Pickering added his appreciation to Bill Bertka, “The Godfather of Santa Barbara Basketball” for being instrumental in Pickering moving to Santa Barbara 25 years ago. Pickering also gave special acknowledgement to Jerry West for attending and speaking at the Inaugural ceremony.
Standing along side Pickering was 9 year old West Figgins, named after Mr. West by the youngster’s father, Randy Figgins, a local businessman. A final thanks was directed to the 23 Inductee’s, for their achievements, passion for the game of basketball and giving back to the great Community of Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions annually brings the basketball grassroots fraternity together while also raising funds for local school clinics,camps, workshops and college scholarships.