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A former St. Raymond’s High School basketball star still has the itch to play competitively, but it took some persuading to get him to do it again.
Parkchester resident Majestic Mapp used to shine on the court at St. Raymond’s and his cousin, Dorvell Carter, pushed him to return to the game.
“You’re still young, you’re still in shape,” said Carter, a Bronxite currently playing for the Marist College basketball team.
The 29-year-old Mapp gave in and tried out for the People’s Games, a three-game basketball series played during the second week of May between two teams exclusively made-up of players from New York and Los Angeles.
Mapp led New York on the court, while Maya Monroe, who lives in Concourse Village, was an assistant coach. The head coach was her father and New York Knick legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe.
New York was swept in the best-of-three series that kicked off in California and concluded in Union Square Park.
Players were selected from open tryouts held in each borough. Mapp caught the Monroe father-daughter tandem’s eye at the Bronx tryout on March 13 at the St. Mary’s Recreation Center on St Ann’s Avenue.
Mapp was also one of the few players at the People’s Games with Division I college basketball experience.
“I was definitely impressed with Majestic even before I had any of any of his background or anything,” Monroe said.
Mapp was coached by the legendary Gary DeCesare at Raymond’s. He was one of 30 Ravens who went on to play Division I basketball during DeCesare’s 16-year tenure at the school.
The 6’2 point guard graduated from high school in 1999 with his sights set on the NBA. Mapp lettered three years at University of Virginia before a leg injury derailed his career. He finished up his college basketball eligibility at a Division II school in Georgia.
The People’s Games were his most competitive basketball experience in five years.
“Overall it was a good experience being able to play for Earl the Pearl and meet some other guys from the city,” the 29-year-old said.
Mapp, like everyone else who participated in the People’s Games, holds down a day job. He is a trader on Wall Street. He earned a bachelors degree in economics and a masters in education at Virginia.
Until the People’s Games, he was playing in recreational league with other professionals in Manhattan.
“Since I got injured I hadn’t gotten a chance to do anything serious with basketball or organized sports, but it’s something that has never left my heart,” Mapp said.
The two hit it off when they found out they had some friends in common, both from the ACC and St. Raymond’s.
“For us he was an equalizing factor because he has played basketball at a higher level so he knows some things that a lot of these guys don’t,” Monroe said.
She aspires to a career coaching basketball. Mapp, meanwhile is back playing recreational after-work ball. He occasionally drops by St. Raymond’s for non-basketball related visits.
“I did go visit the team more when Gary was the head coach,” he said. “Now I just go back once in a while to see teachers and staff.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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