National Sibling Day rolled around on April 10 this year. And while many were thinking of their own siblings that day, here at Hoopfest we had one pair of siblings on our mind: The Bright Brothers.
Siblings, more often than not, serve as an undying support system and source of inspiration. But let’s not forget about sibling rivalry and brotherly competition. The relationship of brothers, Justin (32) and Daniel (34) Bright, was founded on that competitive spirit.
“When we would play in our neighborhood, the other kids would constantly complain if we were on the same team,” says Daniel. “They would say how unfair it was and that teams wouldn’t be even if we did. So growing up, we were always competing against each other.”
It was for this reason that Daniel believes he and his brother chose different high schools. Justin found himself at Central Valley High School, while Daniel wound up at University High School.
“His sophomore year in high school was my senior year,” explains Daniel. “So come basketball season, it was game on!”
They played each other twice that season. The first time, University took the game in double overtime. The second game can only be described as a “game for the ages.”
It was the last game of the regular season, both teams had identical records and the winner got the last playoff spot with a chance to go to the regional tournament. It was a true brother vs brother battle. But when the buzzer sounded, University held a lead of three points—that would be the last game played in that gym before the construction of the new University High School.
“That has to be my fondest memory of us growing up,” says Daniel. “But I’m sure his won’t be the same.”
While Justin’s memory is slightly different, the lone similarity is none other than basketball.
“Dan and I used to watch the NBA finals when Michael Jordan played in the 90s,” says Justin. “During halftime and timeouts, we would run outside and play on our gravel basketball court (the hoop was on a tree) and we would argue who got to be MJ and who got to be Scottie Pippen.”
Fast forward to 2009… and Daniel still recalls his favorite Hoopfest memory.
“I didn’t play that year, actually. But my brother Justin did, and I got a chance to watch him tear it up! I mean all the years I spent playing against him, I had never seen him put on a performance like that.”
Justin’s team fell just one-point shy of the title that year. Daniel, inspired by his brother, decided to get back into shape and return to the Hoopfest asphalt the following year. It was then that the Bright Brothers would reunite with friends Joe Hodges and Joel Ryman to win the six-foot and under elite division. Oh, and they’ve played together for the past three years.
Justin has had several close games over his lengthy Hoopfest stint. His favorite Hoopfest memory is just that:
“Since it was a Final Four game, the court next to us was empty. All four sides of our court were so full with spectators, that when you subbed out of the game you were still on the court. I’d never seen anything like it before. We ended up losing that game on a bank shot 19-20. But after the game, when the emotions wore off, it was pretty cool to think that the city of Spokane loves Hoopfest that much, that they would watch a bunch of old ballers compete for a t-shirt.”
If you’d like to make some great memories with your siblings like Justin and Daniel Bright, register now for Hoopfest 2017!