Gil Basketball Academy to celebrate ‘Court Heroes’ at awards banquet set for March 19th in Salinas
SALINAS, Calif., — It’s called the “House of Thrills,” a renowned gymnasium that has sowed many memories and the site of multiple basketball championships at Alisal High School.
Next to all the banners marking the school’s on-court success is one picturing Gilbert Medina. The words read “honorary legend” — representing Medina’s induction into the school’s Wall of Fame.
An important fixture on the Trojan bench for 32 years, as well as a volunteer coach for Gil Basketball Academy, Medina will be honored as a Court Hero on March 19th, 2022, at the academy’s 12th anniversary awards banquet.
“Coach Medina has been an inspiration to me ever since I was once a player at Alisal High School, and continues to be so now,” said Jose Gil, the AHS boys basketball coach and executive director of GBA. “He has always been part of my extended family, which is one of our core values within GBA.”
The vision of the academy was born out of the belief that one of the most effective ways to strengthen a community is for its youth to be surrounded by positive adult role models, positive peer influences, and immersed in meaningful and constructive activities. As such, GBA’s mission is to support the youth of Salinas as they “shoot for and reach” their positive goals through organized camps, clinics, college tours, motivational speaker forums, field trips and even international tours.
Medina became one of GBA’s original volunteer coaches, eager to help kids even though he had no previous coaching experience.
“Coach Gil came to me and told me what they were doing and asked if I was willing to help,” said Medina, who will be 89 in April. “Right away I said yes. Anything that has to do with helping kids I will be there.”
Medina remembers the initial meetings when GBA was just a dream. He sat down with Gil, former AHS coach and 2019 Court Hero Jim Rear and Salinas native and former NFL star Joe Kapp.
“People said at the time it would go nowhere, that it was impossible,” Medina said. “But look how wrong they were.”
Even at his age, Medina finds the energy and passion to always lend a hand. “I still have a few extra miles left, so I do whatever I can for our kids.”
Gil is always amazed at Medina’s willingness to pitch in.
“Even though all seven of his kids have long since graduated, he is still involved and managing to keep those he surrounds anchored, together, and standing tall,” Gil said. “He tirelessly comes in ready to coach and work with the kids. If that wasn’t enough his involvement has also expanded from the courts into the classrooms.
Growing up poor during the depression (“often with little to eat,” he said), Medina speaks to students about his life and the many lessons he’s learned along the way.
The Court Heroes award is presented to someone who is “heroic, exceptional, respectful and outstanding in the community.”
The event includes a live band and DJ, no-host bar, dinner, dancing and silent auction, with prizes ranging from a paint night with Coach Gil to getaway trips, tickets to Disneyland, and much more.
The banquet will be held from Saturday, March 19, from 5:30-11 p.m., at Salinas PAL Center, 100 Howard St., Salinas. Tickets are $65 general admission and $55 for GBA parents, and available here.
Sponsorship packages are available at a variety of levels, starting with the Presenting Sponsor at $10,000; Gold Sponsor at $5,000; Silver Sponsor at $2,500; Bronze Sponsor at $2,000; and $1,000 and $500 donor levels.
All sponsorship levels include seating for guests, an ad in the event program and other amenities, depending on the level. The Presenting Sponsor will receive three tables of 10 VIP seats each, special recognition at the event, full-page ad in program, signage throughout the event and recognition in all printed materials and advertising. The basic level, $500, receives a table for four and a half-page ad in the event program. Ads are also available separately in the event program, starting at $500 for a half-page ad. For more information on advertising, contact Marci Bracco Cain firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan 4th.
For further information on Gil Basketball Academy, call Coach Gil at 831-710-1499.