It’s not the Fab Five – it’s the King Five!
A street co-naming was recently held in the Bronx to honor a community basketball program that served thousands.
On Saturday, July 16, Councilman Andy King’s office hosted a street co-naming at East 216th Street and Barnes Avenue as ‘Kings 5 Way’, in honor of the King 5 basketball team, which was founded over 25 years ago.
King 5, a community-based basketball organization, was founded by Councilman Andy King’s father, Andy King, Sr., in the early 1970s.
The organization’s goal and purpose was the get neighborhood youth off the city’s street corners and provide them with recreational activity, boost morale and cultivate leadership skills that are essential in everyday life.
King, Sr., who served in the Korean War for three years, even financed trips outside of the Bronx for involved youth to meet professional basketball players and role models in business.
The Kings 5 Basketball Program, which was the longest-running basketball program that existed in the northeast Bronx between the early 70s and late 80s, practiced and played out of Olinville Park, now known as the Agnes Haywood Playground, just outside of where the street co-naming took place.
In total, Kings 5 serviced more than 10,000 males, ages 8 to 40, in neighborhoods in the northeast Bronx.
While in existence, Kings 5 also competed in numerous basketball championship tournaments across the city and in Westchester County, including the Holcomb Rucker Basketball League, Mount Vernon Fourth Street Summer League and the Runyon Heights Basketball League, among others.
King, who lived across the street from the park and was later named to All-City second team when he played basketball at Evander Childs Educational Campus in 1981, also mentioned that two players from the neighborhood who played in the program even ended up making it to the NBA.
Tom Henderson ended up winning the championship with the Washington Bullets in 1978, while Steve Sheppard was on the 1976 United States national basketball team which won the gold medal during that year’s summer olympics in Montreal, Quebec.
The street co-naming of ‘Kings 5 Way’ was part of the annual Olinville Old Timers Day event.
In addition to the co-naming, Councilman King and the Olinville Old Timers Day committee honored two residents.
Michael Pressley, a former coach for Kings 5, received the Andy King, Sr. Award and Cynthia Richardson, president of the Surrey Cooperative, received the Community Service Award.
“In the winter, we would even play in the rain and snow – it didn’t matter because we loved the game and the program so much,” said the councilman.
The event was sponsored by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Councilman Andy King, the Olinville Old Timers Day Committee, Nathans of the Co-Op City Bay Plaza Mall, Fifteen Dynasty Entertainment, Universal Zulu Nation, McCalls Bronxwood Funeral Home and Amalgamated Bank.