City of Palms Classic Basketball Tournament

Moses Brown, #12 HoopSeen senior in nation

The City of Palms Classic Basketball Tournament should be written about next November or December when you might make plans to attend.  But I want to write while it is fresh in my mind.  Just mark your calendars.

For forty-five years, some of the best high school basketball teams in the United States and Canada have made their way to Fort Myers, Florida just before Christmas to play in a six-day basketball tournament.  They come to compete against the very best.

At the behest of a friend, I attended my first City of Palms game in 2012.  Among many outstanding players was the ESPN number one ranked player at the time, Canadian Andrew Wiggins, who became the number one National Basketball Association draft in 2014.  He now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I painted Wiggin’s portrait although I learned later I could not sell it because I did not have his permission in advance.  This past year I decided to give it away as I am doing with other paintings.  [You can learn more about my paintings by writing to]

Over the years, 99 players in the tournament went on to play in the NBA and currently one out of every 8 NBA players played one or more years at the City of Palms.

Many organizations besides ESPN such as Rivals, Scout, HoopScoop and others attempt to measure the skills of sports figures.  Thirty-four ranked players participated in 2017’s tournament.  Perhaps it is no surprise famous college coaches and media celebrities can be found in the audience.

Memphis East coach & former NBA star Penny Hardaway

I am not a great sports fan.  I rarely attend live sports events and do not attend all the games at the City of Palms.  But I enjoy the games I do see.  Seats are readily available during the day.  It was necessary to arrive early only in the evenings when top ranked teams were playing.  Out of the thirty-five games this time, seven were won by two points or fewer.  In the final championship game, USA Today‘s top ranked Memphis East High School coached by former NBA star “Penny” Hardaway was upset by University School, Fort Lauderdale.

Former NBA player [Pacers and Cavaliers] Brad Branson walks behind two ball boys having a one on one game during a break.

In 2017, $260 would buy a ticket for all thirty-five games in the first two rows.  A general admission ticket bought at the window would allow one to see all the games that day for only $15, going and coming as you please.  [The last two days are $20.]  Plus, when you are outside, you get to enjoy fabulous Florida weather — it was in the low 80s and sunny every day this year.

Click on photos to enlarge.


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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2 Responses to City of Palms Classic Basketball Tournament

  1. Wow, a very reasonable cost to see some fun action, Ray. Very good painting, BTW. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keith & Loraine Beckman says:

    Althought not a basketball fan, I did enjoy the history plus now I know about your paintings. Never really knew that part about you. Love to you both. LK&W

    Liked by 1 person

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