MIKE NIETO: Rosati family were original McDipper sponsors

2012-12-27T19:00:00Z 2014-03-21T23:38:21Z MIKE NIETO: Rosati family were original McDipper sponsorsMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
December 27, 2012 7:00 pm  • 

It is not playing at a movie theater near you, but it is one of the greatest stages for holiday tournament basketball.

The McDipper is 40 years old and still looking good.

Before it became the McDipper, thanks to local McDonald's owner and former Thornridge and Chicago State basketball star Melvin Buckley, it was the Big Dipper.

Then Rich South athletic director George Egofske had a good idea, which included the 3-point shot and a 35-second shot clock. The late Anthony Rosati had another idea.

Long before corporate sponsorship, Rosati and his Lansing Sports Shop were the original sponsor and still is one of the sponsors of this grand event.

Back then, I remember Sperry-Rand sponsoring the NFL halftime report on NBC. I think there was also the Prudential Scoreboard, but that was it as far as corporate sponsorship.

Mr. Rosati was ahead of his time and was community oriented. Current Marian Catholic assistant athletic director Kevin Kelly has known the Rosatis for years and had a simple explanation.

"They wanted to give back to the communities and schools," Kelly said. "They had most of the schools as customers and that was Mr. Rosati's way of giving back to the people who made him successful."

His son Tony and the rest of family are still involved with sponsorship. This year the McDipper winner gets a full set of uniforms, courtesy of Lansing Sport Shop.

"We know there are big companies out there, but we are part of these communities," Tony Rosati said. "We like the personal touch and we want to see the Dipper, McDipper and other local tournament succeed.

 "We are a local, south suburban business. People have supported us for years and why not so the same for the schools?"

Rosati has been involved in the Crete-Monee Warrior Shoot-Out and Crete boys basketball coach Tom Cappel is very grateful.

"They really are involved and want to see local (south suburban) basketball be good," Cappel said. "Tony is a fan and he is proud to be involved and it is not just lending his name. He is a basketball fan."

Maybe because of Rosati's dad, that is the reason the McDipper has attracted a big name like McDonald's and the Derrick Rose Foundation.

His vision was not so much of big profits, but seeing that the south suburbs, along with Egofske, that there was a first-class local tournament.

The 16-team field is great and there were some good first-round match-ups on Wednesday. I know Buckley had talked about expanding it, but the field of 16 is perfect. It is a nice four-day event and the fans more than get their money's worth.

The shot clock and 3-point shot are still here and they also turned 40.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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