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The Tampa Bay Masters acknowledges these Masters Basketball USA Hall of Fame inductees who have recently passed away.
Senior basketball players everywhere express their deepest condolences to the family members of these men who pioneered our beloved "Old School Hoops" movement.
May these "Old School Hoops" brothers rest in peace.
Challenge any American masters’ basketball player to name three doctors who have positively impacted our beloved sport.
Respondents will readily identify Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the game, and Julius “Dr. J” Erving whose grace and athleticism catapulted basketball to unimaginable popularity.
However, there remains a third doctor, respected and beloved by all, in the world of Old School Hoops.
Older players who continued playing basketball during their autumn years loved this family physician.
Yes, any doctor reference in masters’ hoops conversations will always focus on Dr. William Bosworth, aka Dr. Boz, or simply Doc, who passed away on February 2, 2022.
Along with Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Sam “The Clutch” Jones, Bosworth pioneered the masters’ basketball movement in 1985 in Jacksonville, FL.
Along with Jones and Dr. Boz’s wife Wanda, family friends Steve Tutson (former Jacksonville University standout) and Artis Gilmore (another Basketball Hall of Fame inductee) collaborated with Bosworth to foster the growth of the American popular masters’ basketball movement.
Bosworth’s love for the sport and zealous desire to gather older hoops junkies from all walks of life and from various parts of the country unwittingly evolved into today’s global masters’ basketball movement.
Though he retired as a US Naval Officer in 1999, Bosworth continued his life of service as a doctor of general and family medicine.
Dr. Boz voluntarily served Naval families until 2016 at both Cobb Air Force Base in Georgia and the Jacksonville Air Force Base in Florida.
The 1957 University of Tampa graduate also compiled significant sports organizational accomplishments. He served as Chairman of the Florida AAU, Chairman of the Florida Junior Olympics and as Board Member of the Jacksonville, FL Sports and Entertainment Commission.
Bosworth’s life accomplishments in sports, medicine and community may be significant.
However, to old school hoops junkies, Dr. Boz’s most significant legacy will always be his dedication to and vision for masters’ hoops.
From all of us well passed-our-prime basketball junkies:
The Tampa Bay Masters honors the memory of 1984 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Sam Jones who passed away in December 2021 in Jacksonville, FL.
Known as Mr. Clutch, Jones won 10 NBA titles in his 12 year NBA career with the Boston Celtics. His Coach Red Auerbach called him one of the greatest shooters of all-time.
Many masters basketball players may not be aware that Jones, a North Carolina Central University alum, along with friend Dr. William Bosworth, pioneered the Masters Basketball USA movement in 1985.
At that time, the two men never envisioned that their fledgling idea would eventually span the globe and foster an international brotherhood and sisterhood of older basketball players.
Jones and Bosworth as well as fellow Masters Basketball USA board members Artis Gilmore, Wanda Bosworth and Steve Tutson eventually built the tournament into a standard of excellence that other masters hoops events, both in the United States and internationally, would emulate.
In 2016, Masters Basketball USA, or the Jacksonville or JAX Masters, formally transitioned its 30-year run of success in Northeast Florida as Jones, the Bosworths, Gilmore and Tutson graciously turned the reins of their trailblazing annual tournament over to the 501c Board of Directors of the Tampa Bay Masters.
Because of Sam Jones' (and Dr. Bill Bosworth's) vision and dedication to the game of basketball, older players 40 to 80 have been able to continue competing in the sport they love in their autumn years.
Thank you, Sam Jones, and R.I.P.
One of the most recognized players, accomplished team organizers and coveted friends in USA masters basketball community, Mike Phelps passed away in 2022.
Mike most recently served as Chairman Emeritus of the Tampa Bay Masters and, for many years, on the Board of Directors of the Masters Basketball Association National Tournament.
A most recognized leader for years on the masters hoops circuit, Mike both played on and organized terrific teams in tournaments in Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Coral Springs, Jacksonville, St. George, Utah and most recently in Clearwater, FL.
More than a successful masters basketball team and tournament organizer, Mike could play!
Known for his bump and fade jumper, Mike served as the catalyst to transition the annual Jacksonville Masters into the Tampa Bay Masters in Clearwater where the event has grown and flourished.
"Old School Hoops" players everywhere immediately recognized Mike's inclusive and caring persona. Plus, his clever commentary never went unnoticed.
Ol' #2's wise counsel, pleasant demeanor and always encouraging nature., without doubt, will certainly be missed!
The USA Masters Basketball community lost another beloved brother in 2022.
Widely known as the Godfather of Masters Hoops, affable Charlie Brown passed away last week in Chicago.
A true gentleman, Brown will be sorely missed. His sage words and always encouraging nature impacted the lives of countless people both on and off the court.
Though everyone in the USA masters’ basketball world knew of Brown, few outside of Chicago recognized the man’s storied history.
Brown launched the Windy City Shootout Masters Basketball Tournament back in 1990. Brown’s backstory on what prompted him to launch an Old School Hoops tournament will make anyone smile.
As 50 year-olds in 1986, Brown and his buddies entered the Shoot the Bull 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament on Chicago’s famous Lake Shore Drive.
With no 50 year-old division, the team got paired against several teams featuring athletic and talented 20 and 30 year-old players, Surprisingly, Brown’s team won the annual summer tournament.
Now, decades later, Brown proudly shared the story about playing against the younger competition or “kids” as he called them. He fondly recalled the story about driving home that night from the tournament. Though exhilarated by the win against these younger players, he was also thoroughly exhausted. Upon arriving home, he fell asleep inside his van in his driveway. His family eventually came outside to rouse him.
That momentous success in the Shoot the Bull 3 on 3 tournament motivated Brown and his friends’ desire to play against quality 5 on 5 competition in their own age bracket.
After traveling to Florida with teammates in the late 1980’s to participate in the Masters Basketball Association national championship tournament, Brown took the initiative. He founded the Windy City Shootout in the summer of 1990 and officially brought masters hoops to Chicago.
For three decades, the weekend Windy City Shootout flourished and Brown’s decorated basketball history helped him craft a powerful Chi Town masters’ basketball legacy.
A Chicago native, Brown carried his own basketball pedigree. He starred at DeSalvo High School in Chicago before excelling at Seattle University alongside Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Elgin Baylor. Their Seattle University team advanced to the 1958 NCAA Championship Game where it eventually fell to the University of Kentucky.
However, it was more than Brown’s basketball reputation that attracted masters’ hoops junkies to him.
People already acknowledged Brown in other ways. Everyone who knew him testified to his personal integrity, approachable nature, strong organizational skills, uplifting spirit and commitment to give back to the community. He continued to give back through masters’ hoops for decades with his non-profit Windy City Shootout donating annually to Chicago area high schools.
Over the years, Chicago area masters’ hoops players have spoken glowingly about this kind man, and they all parrot Charlie Brown’s sentiments.
According to Brown, “Masters’ basketball expands your world by opening doors to fun, new experiences and enduring friendships. And, continuing to play a sport you love will make you happy!”
Brown credited many of his most coveted lifelong memories and relationships to his involvement in Old School Hoops.
The profound truth in Brown’s words motivated one of his protégés, Dwayne Draine, to carry on what the octogenarian started back in 1990.
Anyone involved in Old School Hoops would agree that Draine has deftly carried on and, in some ways, enhanced Brown’s Chicago legacy.
According to Draine, “I was prepared for the challenge because I learned from an exceptional man; namely, Charlie Brown, and I am grateful for his mentorship.”
No one in the USA masters’ basketball community can disagree with Draine’s statement. Charlie Brown was one of the best in all walks of life.
May he rest in peace!
In August 2022, we lost a beloved masters basketball brother, coach and team organizer Doug Coombs (pictured in center) to cancer.
A kind-hearted Canadian from Toronto, "Coombsie" wonderfully represented masters’ hoops in North America for many years.
Doug's cackling laugh and endless stories entertained everyone with whom he came in contact.
I'm certain everyone who had ever met him, played for him or shared a beer or two or three with him can share "Coombsie" stories.
Pictured here holding one of his many USA masters’ basketball championship awards,
Doug or "Coombsie" will be greatly missed.