Trash talk begins for city game

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Before Saturday’s basketball battle comes the war of words.

Natchez police and firefighters will face off in a benefit basketball game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Martin School gymnasium on Homochitto Street.

Proceeds will benefit the families of five city employees who were activated with the military. Those include police Sgt. Perry Bruce; officers Ben Hewitt, Russell Tanner and Roy Woods; and Supervisor of Prisoners Keith Simmons.

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So proceeds from tickets and sponsorships go to a good cause, said those with the inside news on the game. But they also made it clear that bragging rights are at stake.

&uot;We’re gonna whip the gunbelts off of them,&uot; said Fire Chief Paul Johnson, coach of the Fire Department team.

But Police Chief Mike Mullins would have none of it. &uot;When we’re finished with them, all they’ll be able to do is roll up their hoses and go home,&uot; Mullins said.

The thing about the Fire Department’s team is, they’re out of shape, said Ward 4 Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West, chairman of the Board of Aldermen’s Police Committee.

&uot;They (the Fire Department) had five guys do well on their agility test, but basketball? Totally different,&uot; West said.

&uot;Our guys stay prepared. We’re there to protect and serve &045; but not when it comes to the Fire Department.&uot;

Whatever, said Firefighter Eddie Hawkins, point guard for the Fire Department team. &uot;We’re getting in shape, running, shooting. We’ll be ready. And we’re already experienced when it comes to basketball, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem,&uot; Hawkins said.

Lt. Johnny Baldwin, who is coaching the police team with West, wasn’t available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

But Hawkins sent a message to him anyway: &uot;Don’t write checks you can’t cash.&uot;