One of my favorite pit stops whenever I get back home is to the best Sporting Goods store in all of Brooklyn, Sport Prospect, located at 362 7th avenue (between 10th and 11th street.)
I first met Carl Manco, owner of Sport Prospect back in the late 1970’s. At the time I was in the 6th grade at Holy Name and Carl was running a basketball league down at St. Saviour’s high school. My two good friends growing up, Frankie and Jimmy Cullen played in the league, so I’d go down with them whenever they had a game. I sat courtside, alone on a folding chair, filled with envy wishing I could play.
What was so cool about the league besides the outstanding play was Carl had the standings and scoring leaders up on a board high on the wall for everyone to see. The leading scorer of the league, David Quinn, was one of the best players around. (Yes, David is the younger brother of comedian Colin Quinn)
Carl also coached baseball at Saviour’s. He had the world’s tallest shortstop, Chris Logan (A.K.A., Tiffer)
In my early 20’s while looking for a job, which was often, Carl hired me at Paragon Sporting Goods. I didn’t have a very good work ethic at the time, nor was I fully committed to the philosophy of making a living. My tenure at 18th street and Broadway didn’t last long; I quit after a week. That decision is one of many in my early days that I wish I could get a do over on; little did I realize at the time Carl had put his reputation on the line by bringing me in. I felt that I had let him down.
I’d play pick up ball down at the ninth street Y; we had some great battles with guys from that area. Whenever I’d walk down to 6th avenue I’d always make it a point to stop in Sport Prospect to talk sports with Carl. He’s one guy who has a tight grip on all sports, not just basketball.
Since 1988 Carl has been running a great business. He found his niche, followed his passion and has been a success…in his own neighborhood!
Not only is Carl a great businessman, he’s a great friend.
Matter of fact, while I compose this blog entry, I’m wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt from Sport Prospect. And I never had an interest in the Dodgers!
If you’re ever in the neighborhood, stop in and tell him ‘Red sent ya’!
Here’s an outstanding piece on Carl and Sport Prospect written by Danny Myers of Park Slope Patch.
“I see guys walking around with ‘Aeropostale’ in big letters on their shirt” he said. “Why be a walking billboard for Aeropostale when you could be a walking billboard for Brooklyn?”