Harlem Wizards bring magic to Mohonasen

Establishing that bond with people of all ages is key to the Wizards' mission, according to Davis. People don't have to follow sports to enjoy a game: "We're using basketball as a connection," he said. "It's not only exciting trick basketball, but a real warm-hearted experience."

To that end, players climb into the stands and mingle with the crowd. Children are invited to take part in contests and games on the court. Virtually anyone wanting an autograph can go home with one.

Davis' father, Howie, created the Wizards and their fan-friendly brand of basketball back in 1962. Davis took over the team when his dad died in 1992, and he's been to the area with the Wizards before. The team played the Albany Patroons, a semi-pro team, in a sell-out game at the Washington Avenue Armory in 2005.

But the Wizards' connection with the Capital District stretches back even further than that. When Davis was growing up, he spent weekends with the Wizards, traveling to games and practicing tricks with the team. At the time, Schenectady boasted a semi-pro team called the Schaefer Brewers. Davis, a native of Far Rockaway, remembers coming upstate to watch the Wizards take on the Brewers in hugely popular contests.

"People were hanging from the rafters," he said.

While Mohonasen is hoping the Wizards game will again bring out that kind of crowd, Davis said he hopes people won't be disappointed if the faculty fall to the Wizards. After all, they'd be in good company.

"We have about 3,000 wins in a row," he said. "We want to keep the streak going.""

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