Photo Gallery | 2012 ABA National Champions Jacksonville Giants Win First Home Game
December 8, 2012
Jacksonville Giants 116 defeat South Carolina Warriors 112
If you were not at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday night, you missed an exciting ABA basketball game. Just ask Jacksonville's Mayor Alvin Brown. Undoubtedly, Mayor Brown, a die-hard basketball fan, especially when the Jacksonville Giants are playing a home game at the Arena, is not always able to stay for the whole game due to his busy schedule.
However, sitting center court, Mayor Brown could not take his eyes off the ball, especially the last five minutes of the game. During a break in the action, Mayor Brown addressed the crowd saying, "The City is proud to recognized the Giants' achievement of winning the 2012 ABA National Championship and will support the Giants in the future."
There were approximately 4,000 fans in attendance, which is the largest crowd that the Jacksonville Giants have attracted since its inception in 2010. Celebrity attendees included: Musician, Gold Record Recipient and song writer J. Dash; Tony Karasek, 6'11" retired professional basketball player; NFL football player Frank Murphy; Jacksonville Sharks player Laroche Jackson; Jacksonville Sharks player Micheaux Robinson; and MR. BIGGS. If you were in attendance, you probably noticed that MR. BIGGS is back in a special sort of way. Scott Cushnie, who created Biggs' personality and brought him to life in Season One, is back for Season Three. Welcome back, Scott and the real MR. BIGGS.
The crowd was entertained throughout the game by the Jacksonville Giants' dance teams: the Jewels and the Gems. Under the direction of Pamela Masters with Showtime USA in St. Augustine, Florida, the dance teams have perfected their moves going into Season Three. Matthew Masters provides the musical accompaniment. A new dance calendar featuring the Jacksonville Jewels is available for sale. Contact the Jacksonville Giants office at 904-355-6531 for availability. The calendar's theme is famous movie star poses from the 1940s. The half-time show and post-game concert was a "Michael Jackson Tribute."
Giants fans had their first look at the new and improved Veterans Memorial Arena. Its new $1.2 million dollar scoreboard made sitting in the Arena like resting in one's living room. "That screen is huge!" exclaimed one happy fan. Mayor Brown said that this upgrade is part of his vision of bringing new sporting events to Jacksonville. "We must have the latest technology not just for our fans but for groups that make site selections like the NCAA," he said. He told the Giants Marketing Director Joseph Miller that the cost of these improvements would come from an increase in the city's bed tax collected by area hotels.
Richard Miller, with Miller on Sports (Weekdays 1600 AM 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.), provided the televised play by play on CW17 for the Giants game as well as the pre-game high school basketball match-up between Potter's House and Arlington Country Day (ACD). ACD scored 22 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to seal the win against Potter's House with a final score of 70-48. Giants Assistant Coach Jerry Williams provided the color commentary for the Giants game.
In 2010, Team Owner Ron Sholes and General Manager/Head Coach Kevin Waters decided to bring ABA basketball to Jacksonville, Florida.. The history of the team would not be complete without mentioning that there were naysayers who thought that Jacksonville was not quite ready for professional basketball. But, that's what makes the team's rise to the top even more triumphant.
Once Team Owner Sholes and Head Coach Waters made a firm commitment to create a team, then the lengthy and complicated process of recruitment began. In Season One, the Giants were invited to the Southeastern Conference, but their dream of bringing home the National Championship slipped away when the Gulf Coast Flash beat them in Texas. In 2011, the Giants knew that they had their work cut out for them.
Head Coach Kevin Waters, along with Assistant Coaches David Graham and Jerry Williams, were able to prepare the team for the final battle with the South Carolina Warriors. In Season Two, the Jacksonville Giants with Hometown Favorites Antonio Lawrence and Matthew Fields as well as Jermaine Bell, Anthony Jackson, Renaldo Norman, Currye Todd, Lamar Sanders, Sherrod Harris, and Anthony Lumpkin, brought home the 2012 National Championship Trophy and Banner to Jacksonville. Mayor Alvin Brown and the City of Jacksonville greeted the players and coaches in a parade that led to the Arena. Head Coach Kevin Waters expressed his appreciation to the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Giants fans because it is the fan support that truly fuels the Giants to bring such passion to the court.
Now, in Season Three, just like any team defending its No. 1 spot, the Jacksonville Giants is the team to beat in the ABA for the 2012-2013 season. The South Carolina Warriors beat the Giants twice in Season Two, but when it really mattered, the Giants pulled out all the plays to take down the Warriors in the championship. Memories do not fade for the Warriors. The players, staff, and coaches from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, came to Jacksonville with spirit and drive yesterday to attempt to move up from their No. 3 spot.
Host Richard Miller announced the pre-game festivities, including the 2012 National Championship Ring Ceremony, at which Team Owner Ron Sholes presented the championship rings to the 2012 players and coaches.