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The Dapper Dan Roundball Classic

The Roundball Classic is America's first high school All-Star Basketball game.


Sonny Vaccaro and Pat DiCesare staged the first of this annual sporting event at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena on March 26, 1965.  Pittsburgh is an unlikely home for such an event, but since the concept was born in Pittsburgh that's where the game took place for almost 30 years.  

Pittsburgh Civic Arena (Mellon Arena)

DiCesare, who promoted rock concerts at the Civic Arena, was unsure that the game would work in PIttsburgh.  But to his surprise there were more than 10,000 in attendance at the first Roundball and the game grew from there.  The game attracted all of the major basketball talent from around the country.  Coaches and scouts came from all of the major colleges and universities.  Media coverage from all over the country covered the event including Sports Illustrated and ESPN. 

It was common to see coaches such as PJ Carlesimo, Jim Valvano, Jerry Tarkanian, Jim Boeheim, John Thompson, and Mike Krzyzewski all together at the Roundball.  And, of course, it was also common to see the future college and pro stars playing in the event.

The Roundball stayed in Pittsburgh until the early 1990s.  The game lost sponsorship fromt the Dapper Dan Club and Vaccaro decided to move the game to Detroit in 1993.  The last game in Pittsburgh was the 28th Annual Roundball Classic at the Civic Arena on April 11, 1992. However, the Civic Arena in cooperation with Pat DiCesare and with Asics as the sponsor did have two more Roundball Classic games in 1993 and 1994.

 Sonny Vaccaro and Lebron James

The game in Detroit that started in 1993 was called Magic Johnson's Roundball Classic. It stayed in Detroit for 7 years until it finally went to Chicago where it was called simply The Roundball Classic.  The Roundball had its biggest crowd in history at the United Center in 2003 when Lebron James starred in the game.  The last Roundball was the 43rd Annual Roundball Classic in Chicago in 2007.

Here are a list of notable alumni listed on Wikipedia:

  Roundball Classic Wikipedia

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