It wasn’t quite your typical basketball game Feb. 7 when the Harlem Ambassadors went head to head against the Central Texas All Starzz to benefit the Central Texas Starzz Youth Basketball program at the old Copperas Cove High School gym.
The antics began when the Ambassadors came out on the court and the team coach and the lead show person, “Lade” Majic Prophete, took a detour into the stands to drag a spectator out on the floor to dance.
“I felt like the king of the night being out there. That felt real good,” said Clarence Wray, a Harker Heights resident who attended the game with his wife, Lucille. “That was fantastic. This is good entertainment.”
His wife, who was busy laughing and recording video of her husband dancing, agreed.
“I’m having a wonderful time. This is my birthday present,” said Lucille Wray, whose birthday was the day before the game. “I thought it was fun (Clarence) being made a part of the show.”
And part of the show he was, as the game kept getting interrupted for Prophete to wave coyly and yell, “I’ll be done soon, Clarence! Wait for me!”
Charles Lyon, program director for the Central Texas Starzz, an Amateur Athletic Union program, said the game is intended to be a fundraiser to help the fourth- to 12th-grade basketball teams travel for games.
“The chamber of commerce brought (the Harlem Ambassadors) out about five years ago, so we thought maybe we could bring them out,” Lyon said. “This is now our third year doing this.”
The All Starzz, while not bad players, weren’t quite a match for the Ambassadors, ending the first half of the game at 15-49. And while none of the All Starzz had much of a clue what they would be doing during the game, they managed to go with the flow of the performance as if they had practiced.
Which they hadn’t, since most of the players were friends of friends who just came out to have fun and had never played with their teammates before, said Jasmin Lyons, one of the Central Texas Starzz program directors.
“We don’t have an adult team, so we just got some of our friends together and they called their friends,” she said. “We had no clue what we were going to be doing out there, so we just ad-libbed.”
One of those incidents of going with the flow occurred during a “deliberate foul” by Prophete, who brought down one of the All Starzz with karate moves. Pretty soon, everyone was “Kung-fu Fighting” while Prophete hid in the stands to keep the referees from calling the foul on her.
At the beginning of the second half, the Ambassadors declared the score “a little lopsided” and let the All Starzz score 5 points for every basket they made. Even with the advantage, the Ambassadors still took the game 67-47.
Of course, that was after the Ambassadors got tired of playing basketball and wanted to play football instead. Which, of course, ended up in an impromptu dance-off instead. The dance-off might have been a bad call, though, since the All Starzz barely managed to break even.
“It was really fun. I enjoyed myself and really want to come again,” said 12-year-old Jacobi Lavell Thompson, a seventh-grader at Cove Charter Academy. “It wasn’t really a basketball game, with people pantsing other people and everyone dancing, but I enjoyed myself a lot. It was very entertaining.”
The Ambassadors were formed in 1998. To be on the team, players must commit to staying drug-free and pursue a college degree, a message the team promotes everywhere they go, said Prophete, who holds a master’s degree in psychology and counseling and is working on her doctorate in theology.
“It’s a lot of late nights, staying up until 3 in the morning,” Prophete said. “My supporting cast is phenomenal — they come in every day, they work hard, they go down late and they work on things on their own. I don’t have to ‘parent’ them. I just give them the message and they go to work and allow me to do the work that I need to do.”
Prophete is in her 17th season with the Ambassadors, which was the brain child of her friend Dale Moss, she said.
“I had been playing on another team before, and I found myself being a closet Christian, looking the other way. God convicted me of it. I had an idea to bring a team together, and (Moss) and I had a conversation about it. Moss put together the company and the team and the rest, as they say, is history,” she said.
For more information on the Central Texas Starzz program, go to www.starzzbasketball.com.
To find out more about the Harlem Ambassadors, go to www.harlemambassadors.com.