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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Local basketball great ‘King Arthur’ reflects on importance of CIAA tournament

Arthur Lewis Jr., commonly known as “King Arthur,” has ties to Baltimore City and the CIAA, so he joins the thousands of local residents who enthusiastically await the soon approaching basketball conference tournament.

After a decorated career at Milford Mill High School, Lewis was a standout for the Bowie State University men’s basketball team in the early 2000s. From there, he went on to compete professionally, most notably for the nationally acclaimed Harlem Wizards.

For more than a decade, Lewis has exhibited dazzling dribbling skills and entertained thousands throughout the country as a member of the Harlem Wizards, whose entertainment style is reminiscent of the world-renowned Harlem Globetrotters. Lewis is one of the many who have contributed largely to Baltimore’s rich basketball culture and history.

The exposure to HBCUs will be critically important for local youth, he pointed out.

“I think it’s going to be big because now it opens the door for kids to say ‘you know what, I don’t have to go to a Duke or a North Carolina. I can go to a [N.C.] Central, I can go to a Shaw, I can go to a Bowie, I can go to Lincoln, I can go to Johnson C. Smith and still get a great education and have a great time,’” Lewis said.

His passion for seeing the youth excel is one of the primary reasons Lewis is thrilled for the CIAA Basketball Tournament making its return to his hometown.

With the Bulldogs, Lewis played alongside fellow Baltimoreans Cornelius McMurray and Omarr Smith (current City College boys basketball coach) to lead the program to its first-ever CIAA Tournament championship in 2003. He was an academic All-American and led the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Lewis has become a fixture in the local sports community, collaborating with various athletic programs, youth development initiatives and organizations, and is author of the children’s book “Is the King Too Small to Play Ball???” He hopes to attend the tournament and said it may lead to positive outcomes for the city along with advancing its storied basketball culture.

“I think it’s a big revenue [generator] and advancing the rich history of basketball,” he said. “It’s a good look. It’s a good opportunity for the youth to see where we come from, what it means to go to a historically Black college, why we have those and why they’re all in the same radius of the country.”

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