By Danielle Miller
Craig Harden, member of the Running Rebels, presented a documentary about the history of Warning, one of the most successful summer basketball leagues.
Running Rebels is a nonprofit community organization that has provided positive outlets to teens in Milwaukee, since 1980.
The documentary began filming in June through September of 2016. It was created to document the league that has been apart of Milwaukee’s history for 40 years.
Harden said that Victor Barnett, Executive Director and Founder of Running Rebels, had vision to tell the Warning League’s story, and to recapture the moments from the league’s past.
“[Warning} is the 3rd longest running league,” Harden said. “The city didn’t see it’s relevance despite it’s success.”
The documentary is a collection of interviews from original coaches, players and members, retelling the history, success and decline of one of the best leagues Milwaukee had to offer.
“[We] want to make sure the hard work isn’t in vain,” Harden said about the documentary, “[It’s} a reflection of their hard work.”
The league played throughout the summer at basketball courts in local parks. The idea was to keep kids busy so that they would stay out of trouble during the summer.
The league’s height in the 80’s produced players such as Daryl Banks and Sam Okey, but due to the rise of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), players abandoned the playground courts for summer basketball camps.
The Warning league was started with teams made up of those who lived on the same. block They would go from park to park in tournament style games throughout the summer. The league even had some of basketballs finest play, such as former Syracuse great Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, who visited his family in Milwaukee, and played in the league during the summer in the 80’s.
The organization began with providing shoes and shirts to players to allow everyone a chance to play. McGee Sr. joked about using color-coded shirts to keep track of players both on and off the court.
The league is still around Milwaukee today, and gives young adults in the community something to do in the summer.
Harden and his team hoped to have the documentary in local venues around the Milwaukee area soon. A screening of the film was offered to members of the community to spread the word about the film.