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November 12, 2008 > RT Basketball League debuts in Union City

RT Basketball League debuts in Union City

By Vidya Pradhan
Photos By submitted by Raymond Townsend

"Basketball is one of the greatest sports there is," says Raymond Townsend, a retired NBA player who was a first-round pick for the Golden State Warriors in the 1970s (the only Filipino-American to be drafted as a first round pick). "There are so many life lessons on a basketball court - you get knocked down, you've got to get back up; you get bumped, you've got to learn to keep your anger in; you've got to work together as a team. It is a great way for kids to be prepared for what life can throw at them."

Townsend, who worked with troubled kids for many years after retiring from the NBA, has a passion for the game that he has been successfully passing on to the next generation through leagues in San Jose.

On Sunday, kids in the Tri-City area will get a rare treat as Raymond kicks off a promotional debut for his upcoming basketball development league in the fall season. This league will be open to kids from and around Union City, Townsend's new home.

Dubbed the RT Basketball Debut, the promotional event for the league will feature a visit from the Golden State Warriors "Dunk Squad" and the Warriors' cheerleaders; the basketball clinic follows that, and is open to kids from third to 12th grade; and concludes with a performance by the US-Filipino Martial Arts Federation. The event kicks off the new league, which plans to have three sessions during the upcoming year.

Townsend was also instrumental in founding the Pinnacle Academy in San Jose, an institution for kids who had been left behind by the public school system. One such kid, who stood 6 feet tall, 240 pounds, was found by Townsend passed out at a function. After being part of Townsend's program for several months, the young gentleman was enrolled into the American Music Theater because of his beautiful singing voice and is now a productive member of society.

That love and affection that Townsend has for kids, and the belief he has that kids respond to trust and responsibility is what he is attempting to transmit through his leagues.

"I don't guarantee that anyone attending my clinics will become a pro athlete," says Townsend. "What we do is open up avenues for kids to go ahead and play basketball in school and college. It is mainly about building self-esteem through the game. I've been drug free all my life, gang free all my life; what's kept me on the straight and narrow was that I had something I loved to do; I immersed myself in my dream. The work ethic you get when you follow your passion carries you through life."

There will be parking available across the street in the school's parking lot. All participants of the clinic are asked to be punctual as the event will run on time. Those involved in the basketball clinic are also asked to come wearing basketball sneakers and workout shorts. There will also be several free gifts available at the clinic, including an autographed action photograph of former Warrior Raymond Townsend; RT basketball shorts or jersey for children under 8; RT basketball T-shirt for all clinic participants; and Golden State Warriors "Filipino Heritage Night" T-shirts. For any additional information, visit www.rtbasketball.com.

RT BASKETBALL DEBUT
Sunday, Nov. 16, 2-5 p.m.
Open to families; boys and girls 3rd-12th Grade
James Logan High School Gymnasium
1800 "H" St., Union City

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
1:30 p.m. - Family/Participant Arrival
2:00 p.m. - Welcome Address
2:10 p.m. - Intro of Raymond Townsend
2:30 p.m. - G.S. Warriors "Dunk Squad"
2:45 p.m. - G.S. Warriors' Cheerleaders
2:50 p.m. - Meet/greet/autographs with Warrior entertainers
3:15 p.m. - Basketball Clinic
4:30 p.m. - U.S. Filipino Martial Arts Federation exhibition
4:45 p.m. - Closing comments
5:00 p.m. - Departure

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