LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - “The founders that started it fifty years ago, only one is still alive.”
Pat Phelan’s father was one of four men who came together 50 years ago to enhance the basketball skills of the youth in their community.
Phelan was eight at the time, now he is the president.
“I’ve been involved in Little Dribblers in one way or another, whether it was playing or being a board member or running tournament, as long as I can remember,” Phelan said.
Little Dribblers is a big deal in communities across the nation, and this week boys and girls 14 and under gather in Levelland to show off their months of hard work.
“Of course, Levelland made the perfect sense to host the 50th anniversary because it was born and raised here.”
Mary Siders, President of the Levelland Chamber of Commerce, said the Little Dribblers tournament will have a significant impact on the Levelland community over the next four days.
“And, it’s been significant over the last fifty years,” Siders said. “They stay in our hotels, they shop at our restaurants, they buy gas here, they shop here.”
3,000 people will be added to Levelland’s 14,000 this week, for 133 teams to compete.
Phelan said, the best thing about this tournament is that it is all about community.
“It’s not you picking up your bestie and kids and going and playing, this is about you have to have a local youth basketball program that they pick their tournament team from and then they go and play in tournaments for their community,” Phelan said.
It takes 3,000 volunteers, seven gyms, and 12 months of planning, but organizers say they are ready to do it again.
“We’re just ready for another fifty years,” Phelan said.