LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — A west Louisville tradition is returning this summer.
Monday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the Dirt Bowl would return to Shawnee Park.
The Dirt Bowl started in 1969, and for nearly 40 years, produced some of the city’s best basketball talent — but after several years, a combination of things such as violence, competition and lack of funding ended the annual tournament.
Mayor Fischer says the decision to revive the event is part of an ongoing effort to build up west Louisville.
“We want activities in all parts of town,” he said. “I mean, the Dirt Bowl has been legendary relative to development of west Louisville basketball players…we are excited to bring it back.”
Paris Bryant volunteers at the Jeffersonville Boys & Girls Club, working with up and coming high school and college basketball players: “With my experience in playing overseas for 15 years, you know a lot of guys have looked to me to help kind of guide them in that direction, too.”
Bryant also played college ball at the University of Wyoming, but some of his biggest battles on the court didn’t come in college or the pros — they happened in Shawnee Park. One of the main benefits: “Just the confidence I had by playing against those types of individuals,” he says.
The list of opponents is a who’s who of Louisville basketball. Bryant says, “At that time, you know, like Jason Osborne was being recruited by everyone in America, Derek Anderson was on his way to Ohio State, DuJuan Wheat was already enrolled at Louisville — Tony Kim bro, national champion.”
Cornell Bradley[01:17:17]:”They would call me corny corn and my favorite sayings is that I said bang and I said that when a player scores a three point shot.”
Cornell Bradley is the long-time play-by-play announcer for the Dirt Bowl, and says it will be bigger and better with the city’s involvement: “It’s great that it’s coming back and it’s great that we have the blessings of the city and what I mean by that, is they’re sponsoring security.”
The tournament starts on June 30, and so far, there are already 17 teams signed up.
City officials are also taking all of the necessary precautions to make sure the tournament stays safe. There will be more than enough officers in uniform and in plain clothes.