The Hotbed, often imitated, never duplicated. That’s the motto of the New Albany Hotbed Classic, which just wound up its 20th annual high school basketball tournament Saturday. And the Hotbed has become a classic, changing and growing with the times.
The tournament had 20 teams this year in honor of its 20th anniversary, but will return to its regular format of eight games involving 16 boys’ teams next year.
A number of members of the Kiwanis Club volunteer at the event, but the driving forces of the tournament are Bill Parks of Parks Chevrolet, Buick and GMC and Mike Nobles, a vice president of BNA Bank.
Parks and other club members decided to organize a tournament after hearing a speaker at a club meeting in 1990 talk about wanting to put New Albany on the map as a big-time sports town. Nobles started working with the tournament in 1999, and has headed it up since 2003.
At least two players now in the National Basketball Association, Erick Dampier of the Miami Heat and Travis Outlaw of he New Jersey Nets, took part in games at the Hotbed during their prep days.
These days the tournament draws about 2,000 people and raises between $10,000 and $12,000 each year for various charitable causes including college scholarships given to students in the New Albany and Union County schools.
Today the Hotbed is the premier one-day event for boys’ basketball in Northeast Mississippi. It has gotten there with the help of lots of Kiwanis volunteers and the steady hand of Parks and Nobles.
It’s folks like them who help put “community” in the term community service. We salute them and the Hotbed Classic on its 20th anniversary.