When people mention high school basketball in the state of Maryland the first name that gets mentioned is Dunbar. Last night at Sports Legends Museum the Baltimore basketball legends from Dunbar and all over Baltimore came together to celebrate the legacy of Dunbar basketball while watching the screening of Poet Pride.Former St.Louis Ram and Baltimore Raven, Tommy Polley, came up with the idea and produced the movie that documented the history of Dunbar basketball. Polley, who played both football and basketball at Dunbar, believed this movie helped bring together a Baltimore basketball fans everywhere.
The list of legendary players that donned a Poets uniform is long and distinguished. From Skip Wise(who every city basketball player refers to has the greatest to ever play) to Ernie Graham, to the undefeated 82-83 team led by a pint sized guard named Terrance ” Mugsy” Bogues, Dunbar was a virtual pipeline to basketball superstardom. Every time a new player was profiled, I would hear whispers from people telling stories about how good that player was.
The movie documented Dunbar basketball from the 1950’s to the present and everyone could see the pride in the faces of all the former players and coaches in the room. Bob Wade, who coached the 82-83 National Championship team was virtual God that everyone looked up to. You could see the pride brimming from Wade’s face during the movie and every time he saw a former player that he coached.
Every person there acknowledged how strong the bond between every Dunbar Poet is, but I believe this movie symbolized more then that. I have no affiliation with Dunbar whatsoever yet there I was with my eyes glued to the screen feeling a sense of pride every time Sam Cassell or Reggie Williams or David Wingate were mentioned.
The fact that so many of these guys return and give back to the city they grew up in just shows the amount of pride they have for Baltimore and that Baltimore loved them right back.
These players not only put Dunbar on the map, they put a city that was previously just considered a city full of drugs, poverty and murder, on the map. Every player who has played basketball in the city at any level, from youth to playground to high school, owes a debt of gratitude to the Dunbar Poets.
Thanks to them Baltimore is one of the best basketball towns in the country and people who previously ignored the city, now flock there to catch a glimpse of some amazing players and witness some amazing basketball.
So thank you Dunbar for bringing Baltimore to the forefront, not just for another murder or another kid getting arrested, but for something positive that unites everyone no matter where in the Baltimore area they live.
For one night people in Baltimore came together for and put their age, race and ideals aside to celebrate Baltimore.
Everyone, even those with no affiliation to the school, had a sense of “Poet Pride”.
Who would of thought that a small, inner city school, named after a poet, could have such an effect.