Chung Lao: Irfan,
how are you?
Irfan: Doing good :)
Chung Lao: Tell our
viewers about the history of the Indo-Pak basketball
tournament, and what its goals are.
Irfan: Well for me
history of Indo-Pak basketball is divided into two
parts....1st: History of Indo-Pak Basketball locally in DC
area. 2nd: History of Indo-Pak basketball Internationally
(USA and Canada).
DC area history for me
starts back in 1991 when I formed my team the Five Pillars
with a bunch of close friends and family members. We played
in a Indo-Pak league that was run by a gentleman named
Pinto. This league would run in the summer months
(June-July) and would have about 6-8 teams in it...
This league was the
first Indo-Pak league or tournament locally that I played in
which was organized, and he put the effort in to do it
right. I had played in multiple ISA and PSA tournaments
that were always very disorganized. That's why Pinto's
league was special.
Pinto's league lasted
until 1994 then he got married and was unable to dedicate
the time to do the league in 1995...during 1995 other
Indo-Pak leagues and tournaments tried to take the place of
Pinto's league but all the players were very disappointed
with the quality of these leagues and tournaments
At this point Pinto
contacted me and asked me to start running a league because
he knew that I had some good ideas and was organized as far
as running leagues. In 1996 I hosted my first Indo-Pak
league which was hosted by Humanity International a
The league was the
first one in the area that I knew about that had a league
website with pictures of the teams and games, stats,
discussion board, etc. We had 6 teams of just Indo-Pak
players until 1999.
In 1999 teams requested
that we start allowing non Indo-Pak players in because they
wanted more competition. That's when we opened the league
up. I ran this league all the way to 2006 for 10 years. It
grew every year and we had an ex-NBA player play in it. (Enis
Whatley) He played and his son Enis Whatley Jr played
also. Byron Mouton from the MD Terps 2002 championship team
played one year as well. That's the local history.
As far as nationally, my
team Five Pillars first played in the Chicago Nationals in
July of 1999. In our 1st national indo-pak tournament we
lost in the elite 8 round by 1 or 2 points to the eventual
champions of that tournament, the Chicago Untouchables. This
was the 1st time that we saw and played against teams from
all over the country (e.g. NY, TX, CA, AT, TN, and even
Vancouver). The energy in that tournament was electric. 16
teams all competing for the championship over 1 weekend with
the stands packed with the local Desi community cheering
their local teams on! The gentleman that runs the Chicago
tournament started in 1988. That's when we were introduced
to the "IPB Circuit" aka Indo-Pak Basketball Circuit.
circuit at that time included the following cities
(Vancouver, Oakland, Chicago, Dallas, and Tennessee). Each
city would host their national tournament during a specific
time during the year and teams would travel to compete.
In 2000 Tennessee
tournament was replaced by the DC tournament. Sinu Bhandaru
was the coordinator of the DC tournament at that time. In
2001 I offered to help him run the tournament. In 2002
there was no DC Tournament and in 2003 he asked me to take
over and run the DC tournament.
Since 2003 I have been
coordinating the DC tournament with the help of players from
my team and friends and family who volunteer to help out
since the tournament is dedicated to the memory of my late
brother Salman A. Jamil who passed away in Sept. 1999.
That's the national history as I know it!
Chung Lao: What was
the most memorable game that you’ve seen, in the history of
the Indo-Pak, and describe it for us.
Irfan: I think the
most memorable game for me is the Dallas 2001 Championship
game. This is the 1st national IPB tournament that my team
Five Pillars won and it was very emotional for me and my
brothers as well as the rest of our team because it was the
1st time we won a championship since my brother Salman had
passed away in 1999. Every game we play, we do so in
Chung Lao: You also
organize a yearly flag football tourney, tell us about that
Irfan: My first love
is Football, since I played it in High School and coached it
as well. One of my friends here in the DC area, Adeel
Siddiqui, was after me for years to do a football tournament
in the DC area. The only one we knew about and had played
in was one in Tennessee....but we didn't like the rules of
that tournament because there was no blocking allowed in
it. So effectively took all us big guys right out of the
game and made it a speed game only. So I asked Adeel if he
was serious then I would need him to help coordinate it with
He agreed and back in
Summer of 2005 we hosted our first tournament. It was such
a success that we started to do the tournament twice a year
in Spring and Fall.
Then in Spring 2007
Chicago and Tennessee wanted to host their tournaments again
so we coordinated it so that they would do there's in the
spring and we would do ours in the Fall annually. Chicago
tournament this year is may 3-4.
www.IPFootball.com has all info and discussion regarding Indo-Pak
Chung Lao: I know
several teams show interest in the Indo-Pak tourney’s, how
does the selection process work?
Irfan: For both
tournaments we announce the dates and post information for
teams to send their contact info if they want an invite.
For basketball we used to have 16 team tournament but then 1
year we were unable to get the 2nd gym and reduced our field
to 12 teams since we only had 1 gym and didn't want to do a
double elimination tournament. Its not 1st come 1st
serve....we look at the teams history in IPB and pick the
most competitive teams to play in our tournament. For new
teams that don't get an invite to our tournament we direct
them to go to the Dallas tournament since they host 16-20
team tournament and allow new teams in.
Chung Lao: On
the real tip, what are
the chances of an Indo-Pak Mens Figure Skating Tournament?
If you’d like, I can help you with this..
Irfan: I don't know of
many men figure skaters...and I personally don’t have any
interest in that sport...so I wouldn’t be interested in
hosting one. Hahaha. Final Answer: Hell No!
Chung Lao: I’ve
come to understand that you’re more of a football fan than a
basketball fan. Whose team colors do you fly come the NFL
season, and why?
Irfan: As far as
football I love to watch the game at every level...so in the
NFL I follow players not teams necessarily...My all time
favorite player is Ronnie Lott. When Ronnie Lott moved from
team to team I would root for those teams...when he retired
I began to follow Mark Brunell so I was a Jags fan then
became Redskins fan when he was traded here. Otherwise u
will find me glued to the tube from August - Feb watching
all levels of Football...just ask my wife :).
Chung Lao: Where
did you grow up?
Irfan: I was born in
NY and raised in DC area all my life
Chung Lao: What are
your thoughts on George W? How will he be remembered?
Irfan: One of the
worst presidents of our time...took the country into war for
no reason in Iraq other then to control the oil...proof
before the war: barrel of oil was around $66 per barrel now
we are looking at $110 per barrel...George and his buds are
all oil tycoons!!! You do the math.
Chung Lao: What’s
the first thing you notice about a person?
Irfan: Male or Female?
Actually try to see how serious they are. Also their
Chung Lao: List
A. Food(s): Spaghetti, Chocolate Cake, Chinese & Burritos.
my passion is motorcycles that would be the Kawasaki Ninja
ZX10R right now....
as far as cars Ferrari F50.
Hobbies: playing basketball, football. watching sports.
to visit/re-visit: Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany
E. Restaurant(s): On the Border, Red Lobster, Cheese Cake
Chung Lao: Tell us
about those skills in the kitchen.
Irfan: The only skill
I have is eating :)
Chung Lao: Name
someone you admire, and why.
Irfan: My late
Father...because he lived his life to help others whenever
they needed help...and taught me the importance of being
Chung Lao: What do
you want people to remember about your brother, Salman A.
Irfan: That he was a
very loving and caring person and always went out of his way
to help others.
Chung Lao: Is the
glass half empty, or half full?
Irfan: Half full,
Chung Lao: What is
something you cannot stand in a person?
Chung Lao: Seeing
as how you recently became the father of twins, give some
advice to all the new parents out there.
Irfan: Spend as much
quality time with your kids as you can because in a blink of
an eye they grow up. Savor each stage and look forward to
the next one
Chung Lao: Alright,
the year is 2028, the location is the Hawaiian Indo-Pak
Tournament. The Five Pillars are down by 25 pts in the
championship game against the Gburg Underdogs. There are 20
mins left in the game. What is your motivational speech to
the team before the start of the second half?
Irfan: You guys have
been in this position before and know what it takes to win
in this situation. Now go out there and start playing Pillar
basketball and get this championship. 1...2....3....SALMAN. That's
after all the "choice words" and locker slamming ha.
2007 DC Indo-Pak
Champion MD 5 Pillars.
Chung Lao: Lastly,
leave us with a parting thought.
Irfan: Life is
short....Live it to the fullest and let the ones that you
love know that you love them...because you just never know
Lao: Thanks Irfan, we appreciate your time. Next up on
is Siby Varghese of The Siby Varghese Band. Keep in locked in right
here. Much Love.