Nassau basketball legend to compete for $250K

Nassau basketball legend to compete for $250K
George Beamon. He will play for $250K on July 15 and 16 in Las Vegas after winning the One Basketball League's Los Angeles tournament. (Photo courtesy of @george_beamon)

Every memory and legend made during the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament outweighs the forgettable moments.

The second-round game between the Louisville Cardinals and the Manhattan College Jaspers in 2014 is not regarded as an all-time classic. Despite being closer than expected, Louisville, the favorite, won. That day Manhattan joined the long list of teams that enter and leave each March empty-handed.

For George Beamon, a Roslyn native and star senior at Manhattan, it signaled the potential end of his playing days. As some look to the NBA, the “Big Dance” marks the last stop for hundreds more who hang up their sneakers for good.

But he wasn’t ready to quit. Beamon, 31, has been a professional basketball player for nearly 10 years and is still reaching for the NBA.

“[I want to be at] that next level of going to the NBA,” he said. “That’s always been my dream — it’s going to always be my dream until I can’t do it anymore. That’s always the main goal.”

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard was born in Roslyn. As an RHS Bulldog, he earned All-Long Island and All-New York State honors during his junior and senior years.

As a senior, he averaged 34.2 points per game, the most on Long Island. He also led Roslyn to the Class A Nassau County Championship in 2008-2009. He received a full scholarship to Manhattan College as a result.

“I was able to overcome my surroundings and just better myself and better my family,” said Beamon. “Look what God has done for me — the sky’s the limit. I was able to go to a Division One college, which a lot of kids don’t get to do.”

He was on the first team of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference twice while a Jasper. Additionally, he guided Manhattan to the MAAC championship. This earned them the trip to March Madness in 2014.

Despite losing against Louisville, where Beamon got into foul trouble, he looked for the positives.

“I put that good with the bad. Yeah, we made it. I didn’t get the calls I wanted and it didn’t go the way I wanted it,” he said. “But I learned so much and I became a better player and a better person from it.”

After going undrafted, Beamon spent a year in the NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league. In one season, he played for the Oklahoma City Blue and Texas Legends.

Because of receiving little playing time, he took his abilities elsewhere. He has since competed in Canada, Portugal, Iceland, the United Kingdom and most recently Switzerland. He has improved not only his game but also himself.

“They don’t see the hours. There are countless hours where nobody is watching and you’re not getting patted on your back,” said Beamon. “You’re getting no exposure. You’re just working and you gotta dream.”

All this has brought him back to America in the latest chapter of his basketball career: the Ones Basketball League.

Basketball legend Tracy McGrady created the league to honor the best players in the world in one-on-one competition. It allows for those who never competed in the NBA to showcase their skills.

The OBL has held knockout tournaments in six American cities. Players competed for a chance to win $10,000 and a trip to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas for $250,000.

“I actually missed the one in New York. I was away for basketball and whatnot,” said Beamon. “I’m like ‘man, I wish I knew about it and was able to do it’ but when I got back, it already started and I thought it was over — I missed that one.”

He found out about the other competitions held across the nation after discussing the OBL with his brother. He could not enter the DMV competition in time, but the California event provided a different story.

Days before the tournament would begin, OBL officials reached out to Beamon. They told him they liked his game and wanted him to compete.

“Once they did that I was like ‘Yo, book your ticket, go over there and do what God put you here to do,’” he said.

That’s exactly what Beamon did.

He dominated the competition after dropping two games on day one. Not only did he not lose on day two, but he won the whole tournament. He took home the $10,000 prize and secured himself a trip to Las Vegas.

“I always compete and I always do what I love and you’ll only get my A-game,” he said. “They gotta take it if they want it. They got to come and get it.”

Beamon said that he always views himself as the underdog. He uses that mentality to motivate him to compete.

Now, as he’s preparing for the Finals on July 15-16, he’s thanking God and his family for allowing him to do what he loves. Regardless, the goal is still the same: to continue playing the game he adores as well as he can.

“I wanted to touch that NBA, man,” he said. “This opportunity opened that door and I’m so blessed for it. I know God is opening that door for a reason. So I love that and I’m gonna just keep trying to make people proud.”

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