I'm officiating at the Basketball Coaches Association of New York (BCANY) Summer Hoops Festival in Johnson City this weekend. It got me to thinking...What ever happened to the Empire State Games?

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The Empire State Games (Olympic-style athletic competition in New York), underwent some major changes in 2011 when it changed its name to the New York State Games. After being called the Empire State Games for so long, people began to wonder about the name change.

Forget that, I wonder what happened to the games altogether. The Empire State Games go back to 1978 and for over 30 years, it was a way for the best amateur athletes in New York to compete against other amateurs. It included basketball, soccer, track and field, swimming and more.

Things changed in 2010, when the New York State government was going through financial problems and stopped funding the games because of budget issues. The organizers of the Empire State Games had to decide whether to stop the games after 30+ years.

The Empire State Games Come To An End

Putting an end to the Empire State Games would bring a HUGE loss to the athletes, coaches and the communities. At that time, the organizers wanted to find a way to keep the games going.

In 2011, an agreement was made and they would rebrand the Empire State Games  and call it the "New York State Games." Why? By removing the "Empire State" from the name, they could create a new identity while promoting sports and athleticism in New York.

.When they changed the name, they could find other ways to get sponsorship and funding. That sounds great in theory but it didn't work out that way in the end. So try as they might, in April 2014, the Empire State Sports Foundation announced that it would be disbanding.

That brought an end to the New York State Games in the Empire State and it'll probably never return. However if you want to see the best high school boys and girls basketball players in New York, you can come to the Summer Hoops Festival this weekend in Johnson City.

I'll be there all three days and would love to see you at the gym. Here's the schedule for the tournament this weekend.

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