By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
The last month has been a whirlwind for Anthony Hairston, and it will all be worth it come the first weekend of June.
And1, the famed streetball version of basketball, will make its first-ever appearance in Beckley on Sunday, June 2. The team will take on the West Virginia All-Stars at 6 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson High School.
Bringing And1 to Beckley comes from Hairston’s desire to bring top-notch basketball entertainment to the community.
“I went out and made some phone calls to some different companies, and And1 was one of the companies that actually called me back,” Hairston said. “We spoke a few times, got together and came up with a plan for bringing And1 to Beckley. It has definitely been a rapid-fire thing. We’ve been e-mailing back and forth, and everything came together.
“It’s at a good time, going into the summer and kids (almost out) of school. All we want to do is reach out to Beckley.”
In the West Virginia All-Stars, And1 will face a team made largely of local stars, including Woodrow Wilson Hall of Famer Will Dillard and former Mountain State University players James Spencer, Kortaa Hall and A.J. Leftwich. The All-Stars are sponsored by The County Shop barber shop.
And1 is streetball at its best. Players with nicknames such as The Professor, Go Get It, Spider and The High Flyer are just a few who will bring their talents to a city steeped in basketball tradition.
“We’re just very excited about the moment, bringing the And1 brand to Beckley,” said Jamal Murphy, who coaches the Beckley Wizards 11-under AAU team. “I’m proud of (Hairston) because he has been putting in the diligent legwork of bringing them in.”
Murphy is also enthusiastic about the affordable brand that will attract a youthful audience of basketball enthusiasts.
“I know the (Harlem) Globetrotters were here, and I’m not trying to put them down, but it is a different type of generation,” he said.
Doors will open at 5 p.m. the day of the game. Advance tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at The County Shop, located in the Crossroads Mall.
“We just want everybody to come out and watch the basketball and enjoy a company that was started from nothing, and over 10 years later is still loving what they have been doing, dedicated to the street game of basketball,” Hairston said.