WNBA all-star Shoni Schimmel returns to sellout crowd

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Saturday, July 18, Seattle’s KeyArena was home to the WNBA’s Seattle Storm second annual ‘Native American Heritage Night’, as the Storm hosted the Atlanta Dream and their Native all-star guard Shoni Schimmel. For the second straight year, KeyArena reported a sellout crowd of 9,686 fans against the Atlanta Dream thanks in large part to the growing popularity of Schimmel to urban tribal youth. The sellout crowd was made up primarily of Native American tribes from all over the Pacific Northwest who journeyed to Seattle to root for Schimmel. In fact, every time Shoni “Sho-Time” Schimmel came into the game or had her name announced, the crowd went wild with excitement and joy.

Schimmel, a 5-foot-9 guard, is a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and was raised on the reservation just outside Pendleton, Oregon. Many fans in the building wore her image on t-shirts and waved homemade signs celebrating Schimmel. The fan base even helped vote her to next week’s All-Star Game as a starter, but Schimmel is far from the player who last year became the first rookie to win the game’s MVP honor.

Schimmel’s popularity among Native Americans has made her one of the more recognizable names in the WNBA, and nowhere is her popularity on greater display than in her annual trip to Seattle. Fans from as far away as the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana made the journey to Seattle just to watch her play.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

Prior to the game, Schimmel spoke on the tremendous outpouring of support she receives on the west coast.

“It’s a bunch of support out there, especially in Seattle. There’s a lot of people coming out there because it’s the closest to home I get to play. My whole family has traveled to Seattle to watch me play, it’s going to be special for me.”

The Tulalip Youth Services department seized the opportunity of ‘Native American Heritage Night’ to provide a fun and exciting activity for our tribal youth. Over one hundred tickets were purchased and given to youth who showed on Saturday afternoon at the Don Hatch Teen Center, where they were then transported via shuttle bus to Seattle’s Key Arena.

According to Shawn Sanchey, Youth Services Activity Specialist, the youth were abuzz all week about the chance to see Shoni play in person.

“The kids all know who Shoni is and the excitement was building all week leading up to the game. A lot of it has to do with her being Native and growing up on a reservation. It helps a lot for the kids to see someone with a similar background succeed on the professional level, she inspires them. They really like her and look up to her,” said Sanchey.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

The Storm got off to a scorching start, outscoring the Dream 27-16 in the first quarter. By halftime, the Storm had torched the befuddled Dream for 48 first-half points and took a 48-33 lead to the locker room. All those Shoni fans in attendance were given a very lackluster 1st half performance, as she hadn’t even attempted a field goal.

In keeping with the Native theme of the night, the Storm provided a half-time entertainment consisting of pow-wow dancers and drummers from the Chief Seattle Club, Young Society, and Northwest Tribal Dancers.

After Seattle went ahead by 19 points to start the 4th quarter, Schimmel, who had been held scoreless to that point, finally got in rhythm and displayed why she’s called “Sho-Time”. She recorded all eight of points, two of her three rebounds, and one monstrous block that sent the crowd into a short frenzy during the final quarter. The biggest cheer was when she hit her first 3-pointer with 3:59 left in the game. Her late game efforts come up short though, as the Storm would go onto claim victory after scoring a season high 86 points.

Following the game, many of the fans who came to see Shoni remained in their seats after it was announced she would be addressing the crowd and signing autographs. In her post-game interview, Schimmel took to the mic to talk to the all-Native crowd and thanked them for their support. She was asked about the hundreds of young Native American girls in the stand who idolize her and what message she wanted to send to them.

“I never thought I would be in the WNBA, but here I am. Follow your dreams! Look at me now, this little Native girl from Oregon playing professional basketball.”

Schimmel_2

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel receives 2014 Native American ’40 under 40′ award

 

Atlanta Dream's Shoni Schimmel, right, and Seattle Storm's Camille Little reach for a loose ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, May 30, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Brant Sanderlin) GWINNETT OUT MARIETTA OUT LOCAL TV OUT (WXIA, WGCL, FOX 5)

Atlanta Dream’s Shoni Schimmel, right, and Seattle Storm’s Camille Little reach for a loose ball during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Friday, May 30, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal Constitution, Brant Sanderlin) GWINNETT OUT MARIETTA OUT LOCAL TV OUT (WXIA, WGCL, FOX 5)

By Erik C. Anderson, The Oregonian

Oregon native and Atlanta Dream guard Shoni Schimmel has been named a 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award recipient, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development announced in a press release.

The award is given to people under the age of 40 who have been nominated by “members of their communities for showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities.”

Schimmel was named the MVP of the WNBA All-Star Game during the past season, and had the highest selling jersey in the league. She grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon.

Below is the full release:

MILWAUKEE, WI – Emerging Native American leaders from across the country will be honored for their outstanding leadership during the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s upcoming Reservation Economic Summit (RES) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The “Native American 40 under 40” is a prestigious award that is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40, nominated by members of their communities, for showing initiative and dedication to providing significant, positive contributions to business or in their respective communities. Shoni Schimmel, a Pendleton, OR resident and member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, is among the 2014 award winners to be honored during a gala at the leading Native American business event in the country, taking place at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino in Milwaukee.

“The 40 under 40 award showcases the accomplishments of both current and future Native American leaders,” said Gary Davis, President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. “The future of Indian country will be shaped by exceptional leaders such as Shoni who have proven their unrelenting dedication to enhancing the lives of those around them. It is truly an honor to bestow this award on such a deserving group of young leaders.”

Shoni Schimmel currently plays point guard in the WNBA for the Atlanta Dream. Schimmel was the first rookie to be named MVP of the WNBA All-Star game, and set the record for most points in an All-Star game with 29. Schimmel, who grew up on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, is the highest drafted Native American woman in WNBA history. Schimmel graduated from the University of Louisville, where she was named an All-American and led the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Championship game.

Award winners will be officially honored during the 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) Gala, which will take place during RES Wisconsin on Wednesday, October 8th. For more information about Reservation Economic Summit, please visit http://res.ncaied.org.

Shoni Schimmel draws sellout crowd to Washington WNBA game

Shoni Schimmel was named Most Valuable Player at the WNBA All-Star game last month. Image from NDNSports.Com

Shoni Schimmel was named Most Valuable Player at the WNBA All-Star game last month. Image from NDNSports.Com

 

Source: Indianz.com, Aug 8, 2014

 

Shoni Schimmel, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, drew a sellout crowd to a WNBA game in Seattle, Washington, on Thursday night but her star power wasn’t enough to help her team win.

The matchup between the Atlanta Dream and the Seattle Storm drew Schimmel fans from across the Northwest. Many chanted her name in the stands, which motivated her rivals even more.

“We were mad,” Storm forward Camille Little told The Seattle Times. “This is our home court. We wanted to play well, and we’re playing for our lives right now.”

The Dream ended up falling to the Storm by a score of 88-68. But Schimmel was still grateful for the support she received.

“This is home for me, and for everybody to come out tonight and show support, thank you guys,” Schimmel said after the game, The Oregonian reported.

 

Get the Story:
Franklin’s Shoni Schimmel brings ‘Rez Ball’ back to NW (AP 8/7)
Sellout crowd sees Shoni Schimmel play and Storm beat Dream, 88-68 (The Seattle Times 8/8)
Shoni ‘Showtime’ Schimmel of Atlanta Dream captivates Seattle, has eye on becoming ‘one of the best’ (The Oregonian 8/8)

It’s showtime for Shoni Schimmel as she spotlights Rez Ball

The East's Shoni Schimmel celebrates with her MVP following their 125-124 win over the West in the WNBA All-Star Game Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo: David KadlubowskI/azcentral sports)

The East’s Shoni Schimmel celebrates with her MVP following their 125-124 win over the West in the WNBA All-Star Game Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo: David KadlubowskI/azcentral sports)

By Bob Young, Arizona Republic

Rick Schimmel’s T-shirt said it all.

“Rez Ball Rules.”

Reservation-style basketball, as demonstrated by rookie Shoni Schimmel, sure ruled the WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday at US Airways Center.

And if you want an explanation of Rez Ball, well, WNBA President Laurel Richie provided a pretty good one when she told Schimmel’s dad, “She plays with such joy, freedom and liberation!”

Schimmel, who probably wouldn’t have been in the game at all without the support of Native American basketball fans, added a whole lot more faces to her following with dazzling ballhandling, long-range shooting and an All-Star-record 29 points that led the East to a 125-124 overtime victory.

Schimmel is the first rookie named MVP in the All-Star Game, but she’s been a most valuable person for Native Americans for quite a while.

Raised in eastern Oregon on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Schimmel’s quest to be the first athlete from her reservation to earn a NCAA Division I scholarship was the subject of a 2011 documentary “Off the Rez.”

Her following grew when she and her younger sister Jude led Louisville to the 2013 NCAA championship game before the surprising Cardinals finally fell to Connecticut.

Atlanta picked Schimmel eighth overall in the WNBA draft and she has started only two games for the Dream, averaging 7.2 points. Yet she was voted into the East starting lineup with the third-highest number of ballots in All-Star voting.

Her jersey is the biggest seller in the league.

And only the Mercury’s three players in the game, Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Candice Dupree, got bigger reactions from the crowd than Schimmel.

“I don’t know if it was meant to be, but it happened,” Rick Schimmel said. “It was exciting that it was in front of so many Native Americans here. It meant a lot.”

Rick said Shoni has taken her role as an example to Native American followers seriously since she began learning those dazzling moves as a kid during her years in high school when she was coached by her mom Ceci and on to Louisville and the WNBA.

“To have the fans look up to me and be a role model not only for my siblings but the Native American fans and Native American people, it’s something that I take on my shoulders because I enjoy it,” she said. “I love being Native American, and for all these fans to come out and be here, and to vote me into this game, means a lot.

“I’m thankful they got to be here or to watch it on TV. It was awesome just to be able to go out there and play my game and have fun, and to feel free to go out there and play Rez Ball. It was a lot of fun.”

Schimmel was relatively quiet in the first half, scoring five points and handing out four assists.

But not long into the third quarter, she cut loose, hitting three shots from beyond the 3-point line in short order.

“I’m not going to lie, I saw it coming in the third quarter,” said Jude, one of 17 family members who made the trip to Phoenix. “She just kept asking for the ball and got more and more comfortable as the game went on. Playing with her for so long, and being her sister, I knew what was coming.

“I was just happy to see her so comfortable on such a big stage, playing so well.”

Rick said Shoni feels a responsibility to set an example, just as former Window Rock and Arizona State star Ryneldi Becenti did as the first Native American to play in the WNBA.

“It offers hope to the younger generation of Native Americans,” he said. “It has been such a struggle, but it gives them hope and the idea that they can go out and do anything they set their mind to.

“Shoni is living her own dream, but at the same time, she represents a lot more to a lot of people, and that’s just the blessing of it all. It’s enhancing other people’s lives and opportunities along the way.

“It’s in her core, really. It’s something she has always represented. It’s not like she comes out and thinks about it that much, but you walk out and see a lot of Native faces, I think in anybody’s mind they’re thinking, ‘Wow, they’re here to see me.’

“I would freeze up, and it’s easy to do that. But she doesn’t. She embraces it. It’s in her heart and something she was born with.”

She was born with it on a reservation, where basketball is a horizontal game more than a vertical one. Where creativity is king and playing with fear will only get you beat.

“Rez Ball is kind of an open-court game, where you feed off of each other,” Jude explained. “It’s free-flowing and fun. It’s more about a feel for the game than thinking about it. It’s not very structured, but it’s a thriller!

“It fits perfectly for an All-Star Game. Ever since we were younger, I’ve seen those kinds of moves, probably a lot more of them, too. But to see her do it on the big stage, I had goosebumps. I normally don’t cheer, but I was cheering.”

Why not? On the WNBA’s biggest stage, Rez Ball ruled.

Shoni Schimmel’s Dream Jersey Is No. 1 Seller in WNBA

WNBASchimmel holds up her Atlanta Dream jersey on draft day in April 2014.


WNBA
Schimmel holds up her Atlanta Dream jersey on draft day in April 2014.

 

Since the start of the WNBA season, Shoni Schimmel has been one to watch.

Last week, she was officially named to the WNBA All-Star team earning a starting position for the Eastern Conference, a rarity for any rookie.

Now, the WNBA is reporting that Schimmel has the leagues most popular jersey, according to sales from WNBAStore.com that were tallied from the start of the 2014 regular season.

RELATED: Rookie Phenom Shoni Schimmel Will Start in WNBA All-Star Game

Her popularity with the Atlanta Dream also helped the team claim the No. 1 spot on the best-selling team merchandise list for the first time, WNBA.com reported. Schimmel is also among several players from the most popular jerseys list who are headed to the WNBA All-Star game including, Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi.

On Twitter, Jude Schimmel congratulated her sister:

Click here for a list of the other top selling jerseys.

The WNBA All Star Game begins on July 19 and will be televisied on ESPN.

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/16/shoni-schimmels-dream-jersey-no-1-seller-wnba-155876

Rookie Phenom Shoni Schimmel Will Start in WNBA All-Star Game

Amy MorrisShoni Schimmel

Amy Morris
Shoni Schimmel

 

Indian Country Today

What are you doing on July 19?

If you’re not busy, you might want to drive, fly, walk or crawl (kidding) to Phoenix, Arizona to catch Shoni Schimmel play in her first WNBA All-Star Game.

According to the Courier-Journal, Schimmel, who was the only rookie chosen to start, received the most votes of any Eastern conference guard and the third-most of any player in the league with 25,601 votes. Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx received 28,389 votes and Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky received 26,129 votes.

Schimmel also got more votes than some of the biggest names in the WNBA, including Candace Parker, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Diana Taurasi, and she’ll start the All-Star game even though she’s started only two of 18 games for the Dream, the paper reported.

“For the fans to go out and vote, I definitely have to give it to them. For them to have my back and sit there and vote for me every day is just something they took pride in,” Schimmel told the Associated Press. “They obviously want to see me in the game, so for them to do that means a lot to me.”

The WNBA All-Star Game will take place at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Saturday, July 19, and will be televised on ESPN, with tip-off at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT).

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/07/09/schimmel-wins-starting-postion-wnba-all-star-game-155750

 

 

The Dream at Work: Shoni Schimmel Helps Welcome Special Guests to AT

 

On May 30, the Atlanta Dream kicked off its new initiative Heritage Fridays and celebrated Native American Night in honor of Shoni Schimmel.

The rookie guard, Umatilla, told ICTMN that she really appreciated the showing of support and called Friday’s event “Awesome.”

Native supporters filled an entire section of the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, and fans wore blue T-shirts donning Schimmel’s name and number, 23. And the first 2,000 fans received a turquoise Shoni Schimmel wristband.

“We are proud of the cultural diversity of our team and we look forward to celebrating that this season and beyond,” Dream President and General Manager Angela Taylor told WNBA.com.

RELATED Video: Shoni Schimmel’s Rookie Blog With the Atlanta Dream

Atlanta snapped a two-game losing bump with an 80-69 win over the Seattle Storm to improve to 3-2 overall, the team’s post game notes said. The Dream is now 2-1 in home games, and has won 20 of its last 25 regular-season games at Philips Arena.

Schimmel managed one assist for the night, but she’s averaging 9.3 points per game. Her season total of 38 points is tied for the most in WNBA history for a player in her first five career games, WNBA.com said.

At halftime, the Red Road and Elks Soldiers performed and Schimmel energized the crowd by taking a few photos with her biggest supporters and fans.

After the game, Schimmel revealed to ICTMN that when she’s not on the court, she manages her own blog, whcih you can read here. On her blog, Schimmel posted a photo of Native American Night. She’s posing with a crowd of fans, dancers, and WNBA staff.

“It was great getting to see the fans come out and support!! She wrote. “Thank you all for coming, and see you next time!!”

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/gallery/photo/dream-work-shoni-schimmel-helps-welcome-special-guests-atl-155193

Schimmel Is the Highest Native American Drafted in W.N.B.A. History

<br />

Associated Press
Louisville’s Shoni Schimmel holds up an Atlanta Dream jersey with WNBA president Laurel J. Richie after she was selected 8th overall in the WNBA draft on, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Uncasville, Conn.

 

“DREAM BIG” followed by several emoticons and then “#N8tive” was what Shoni Schimmel tweeted on Monday night before she held up an Atlanta Dream uniform on the WNBA draft stage at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The 5-foot-9 University of Louisville guard became the highest drafted Native American player in WNBA history when she was selected eighth overall by the Atlanta Dream.

“I was very happy to hear my name called, and the fact that it’s down the road in Atlanta will make the transition even easier,” Schimmel told WNBA.com. “I’m just so excited.”

“We are all excited about Shoni Schimmel coming to Atlanta,” said Michael Cooper, head coach of the Dream. “She can play in an up-tempo offense like we play, and is a player that can push the tempo and play multiple positions.”

Schimmel ranks fifth in NCAA Division I history with 387 three-point shots, just five shy of the 392 record. She became the first Louisville player ever to accumulate totals of at least 2,000 points and 500 assists, finishing with 2,174 and 600, respectively, said WNBA.com.

RELATED Shoni Schimmel’s Career Comes to a Close in Electrifying Fashion

Schimmel sat in the green room prior to the draft with her parents, Rick and Ceci Schimmel. Her sister Jude Schimmel was also there to congratulate her. After the news was announced, Jude tweeted, “Can’t explain how happy I am for my sister” and “@Schimmel23 killed that interview! REPRESENT!!!! It’s the revolution.”

“Most people’s dreams don’t come true because they don’t work at it hard enough,” Shoni’s father, Rick Schimmel, told theNew York Times. “She’s put everything she could into it.”

“It’s really starting to hit me now,” Schimmel told the Oregonian days before the draft was announced. “It’s crazy. You’re used to going to school, and now you’re trying to figure out everything about pro basketball. It’s hitting me fast, but I’m excited. I’m getting ready to start my life.”

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/04/15/schimmel-highest-drafted-native-player-wnbas-history-154466

The hidden tourneys: Independent basketball in Indian Country

By Brandon Ecoffey , Native Sun News Managing Editor

Tourneys like this one hosted as a fundraiser in Batesland, have become part of Native American basketball culture. PHOTO BY/Brandon Ecoffey

Tourneys like this one hosted as a fundraiser in Batesland, have become part of Native American basketball culture. PHOTO BY/Brandon Ecoffey

PINE RIDGE— The notoriety of the unique passion and style with which Native people play the sport of basketball has grown with the successes of college athletes like Jude and Shoni Schimmel. However the oversimplification of the term “Rez Ball” that has been tied to the two star guards for the University of Louisville has left out many aspects of Indian Country’s connections to the game, including those that are fostered at independently run basketball tournaments all across the country.

Stereotypical portrayals of Native America are often infused with images of black and white photographs from the pre-reservation era showing tribal members in traditional regalia. In representations of contemporary Native America the mainstream news cycle is often flooded with photographs of dire poverty and gang life. These elements do exist in Indian Country but what is often left out is the everyday life lived by many in predominately Native communities that is infused with the sport of basketball.

Although basketball was first brought to most reservation communities by Christian missionaries as an incentive or outlet to the harsh assimilationist policies within boarding schools the sport has been embraced throughout Native America.

For some like Beau Cuevas, a Mni Coujou Lakota, who has played the game his whole life basketball, holds a special place within him.

“For me it’s a way to relax because on that court nothing else matters it’s you and 9 others guys going to battle. It’s the only other place besides Inipi (sweat lodge) and Sundance that I feel at home, it’s a brotherhood,” said Cuevas.

One phenomenon that has been present in Indian Country since as early as the 1900’s has been the formation of travelling teams made up of Native American ball players. Possibly the earliest recorded Native American independent basketball team in history hailed from Fort Shaw, Montana. The team that was comprised of women competed in the 1904 World’s fair in St. Louis and helped to create interest in the game of basketball.

Throughout the year athletes from around Indian Country participate in both local and national basketball tournaments held in all parts of the U.S. The participants in these reservation or urban Indian community based tournaments vary from former high school stars, to successful Divisions 1 athletes, street ball legends and even potential NBA prospects like Luke Martinez who played at the University of Wyoming.

Occasionally in tournaments where tribal enrollment verification is not required high caliber non-Native participants are also brought in by Native teams to compete as demonstrated by sightings of former University of Wisconsin star Jordan Taylor at a tournament held at Indian Center in Minneapolis, MN and former South Dakota State University forward Tony Fiegan who played in one in Rapid City, SD last spring.

Cooper Kirkie a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe who is one of the many talents who travel across the country to play in these tournaments says that the talent level playing is comparable to that of the NBA’s Developmental league or some of the pro leagues in Europe.

“With more and more Natives playing division 1 ball it is really getting to be good talent in these tournaments. The ones who are playing college ball and don’t go on to play after are the first round draft picks for these teams. Usually someone sees them play and someone else will know their auntie or cousin and call them up and bring them out,” said Kirkie.

Kirkie has travelled to over a dozen states including Florida, Washington, and Wisconsin to play in Native tournaments and feels that his desire to travel, that he inherited from his Grandmother, would have went unfulfilled without basketball.

“I am really blessed to be able to travel and see different parts of the country that without basketball I may not have ever been able to experience,” he said. “There are just so many good players out there is feels good to be able to go to other nations and compete against what they have. It is like counting coup. It isn’t about being violent or disrespectful it’s just going out and doing our best.”

With the arrival of gaming and energy dollars in to Indian Country the dynamics of these teams have begun to change as well as the sponsorships. The team Kirkie is on receives its funding from tribal members who are enrolled in a Florida based casino tribe who pays for the team to fly to and from tournaments throughout the year with per cap dollars generated by the tribal members’ casinos. The sponsorship money is a welcome relief from days past when Cooper was forced to gather money on his own.

“I remember when I first got started and I had to either save up money all the time or approach the tribe and ask them for $200. Sometimes they would give us that and we would get together some food stamps and we would travel on that,” he said. “The thing about our sponsors is that they are really good hearted people who do this because they like to see us play and they like to spend family time together with us. It isn’t like if we play a bad game that this is going to stop. It isn’t about that and it feels good playing with no pressure and being with family.”

Some tournaments are of the small scale where local teams converge to compete against fellow tribal members for jackets, sweaters, and occasionally t-shirts. However independent basketball has begun to take on a new feel with the onset of the same casino and energy dollars that sponsor Kirkie’s team being funneled in to the circuit with some tournaments awarding as much as $10,000 and custom designed Pendleton jackets to the winners. Recently the team Iron Boy which featured former Cheyenne Eagle Butte standout and Pine Ridge Native Daelan High Wolf took home the $10,000 prize at the March Madness tournament in Dells, Wisconsin.

The reasoning behind the creation of these tournaments varies from event to event. Some are local fundraisers while others are for competition but one authentically Native aspect of the Native Independent basketball circuit is using the game and the events as a way of memorializing lost loved ones. Travis Albers hosts a tournament each year in Bismarck, North Dakota honor of his brother Tanner who past away from cancer several years ago. Tanner was a star player in South Dakota alongside Travis, both would play together at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck. Just this last year Tanner was inducted in to the school’s hall of fame. For Travis who himself is veteran of the independent hoops trails the memorial tournament he runs is bigger than just basketball.

“Me and my brother had been playing basketball together since we could walk. It was something we did together, we did everything together,” said Albers. “When I have this tournament it isn’t just basketball. I want people to come and talk about memories they had of him and to talk about how he treated them good and remember things other than basketball.”

Travis and Tanner would play together with each other at all levels of the game including college and then with one of the more storied independent teams, Iron Five, for more than ten years together. For Travis the independent game has changed but it is still something that serves a purpose within Native communities.

“We have have a lot of athletes who could go on to play at higher levels but for whatever reason they sometimes get pulled back. But for those on the reservation they are still stars. Some of them are like NBA players to us but the tournaments are good ways to gather to remember the ones the passed away,” he said.

Documentary About Hoopster Shoni Schimmel Among iTunes’ Top Downloads

off-the-rez-feat

 

 

Off the Rez, a 2011 documentary about Umatilla basketball star Shoni Schimmel, is putting up respectable download numbers at Apple’s iTunes store. As of this writing, the film is at no. 99 on the overall iTunes Top 100 list, and is the seventh-highest ranked documentary.

Click here to go to the Off the Rez page at iTunes.

Schimmel is now a force on the court for the University of Louisville (where her sister Jude is also on the team), and was recently spotlighted by ESPNW as the college player of the week. Off the Rez premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2011, and aired on cable TV as Shoni’s Louisville Cardinals were making their run to the NCAA tournament finals in 2013.

Below are a few clips from Off the Rez; many more can be seen at director Jonathan Hock’s Youtube channel.

 

 

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/02/06/documentary-about-hoopster-shoni-schimmel-among-itunes-top-downloads-153448