Bergen County residents know the Mitch Gross Basketball League (MGBL) is a fun, competitive experience. It is a league where boys and girls have the opportunity to develop their basketball skills while learning the value of teamwork and good sportsmanship. The league is a success because of the kids and parents who volunteer their time to coach. They all are wonderful role models and teachers. One of the most special things about the 8-year-old MGBL division is James.
James Thomas is a proud New Jersey Transit employee by day; but when it’s an MGBL
Sunday, he slips into his zebra striped shirt and becomes a larger than life figure. He always has a smile on his face and is eager to encourage every kid to do the best he can. MGBL Executive
Moshe Zwebner summed it up best: “James is a great ref and most importantly, he is great with the kids. He is exactly what MGBL is about. We are lucky to have him and I hope he realizes what a great impact he has on the kids. All the parents, kids and coaches love him—not always an easy crowd to please when talking competitive 2nd grade basketball.”
Team Camp Lavi Coach Nechama Konigsberg pointed out that “James is a referee and coach at the same time. He would stop the game to point out to the girls how to handle different situations.”
Alon Stemple, the coach of the FZ Collection team, told the JLBC that James has the unique ability to “keep the game moving at a comfortable pace while not wasting time on calls that would not impact the results of the game.”
The MGBL family honored Mr. Thomas at halftime of the girl’s championship game on Sunday December 22nd with a small token of appreciation, a plaque.