While the City of Palms Classic is consistently regarded as the top high school tournament in the country - boasting 165 all-time McDonald's All Americans, 72 active NBA players, 141 current players in the power seven conferences of college hoops, and countless high school state and national champions - it was not always this way. It had humble beginnings as a local holiday tournament, establishing Southwest Florida roots that run strong to this day. In the coming months we will be sharing some of the key moments and turning points in the history of our nationally recognized tournament.
To start, we travel back in time to 1973, when the City of Palms Classic began as The News-Press Christmas tournament. Featuring an array of local Southwest Florida talent, the event was an instant hit. The first tournament didn't feature nationally recognized players, but Immokalee High School went a perfect 3-0 to win the first championship. Little did the crowd at what was then called Edison Community College know that they were witnessing the birth of the country's premier high school basketball tournament.