Bill Neal: Noblemen score big with a slam dunk!

PENN HILLS GIRLSBASKETBALL TEAM with their new game shoes. They’re joined by Sheldon Oliver and Qiana Buckner.

by Bill Neal, For New Pittsburgh Courier

 “And then a hero comes along with the strength to carry on!” 

That’s part of a song offered by the great Mariah Carey in her #1 hit, “Hero.” She speaks in total the need to care, fight, survive and  never give up. But more than anything, knowing that at times when you least expect it, someone comes along to renew your feeling and belief in your fellow human beings and tomorrow will be a better day.

That is in part the attitude and actions presented by the newly established Noblemen Community Club founded and based in Penn Hills. Giving evidence that they practice what they literally preach. Pastor Mike Smith, the President of the club and Sheldon Oliver, Club VP and owner of the Noblemen Restaurant/Cigar Bar/Social Club, united their valuable years of trial, error and tested time to present a donation of notable proportion to the Boys and Girls varsity basketball teams at Penn Hills High School. Notable to be sure to the tune of $5,000-plus. Each of the 30 players received basketball game shoes for this season. As Pastor Mike stated, “It was important to present these outstanding student-athletes with top-quality game shoes they could be proud of and want to showcase.  Thus, the trademark LeBron James for the boys and Kevin Durant for the girls.” 

Greater than the presentation was the acceptance, a tremendous showing of appreciation shown by the players as well as Penn Hills Athletic Director Steph Strauss, coaches and parents along with boys coach Chris Giles and girls coach Rob Cash. The event was capped off with Penn Hills mayoral candidate Qiana Buckner glorifying the qualities of the students and the need to continue more support for our future stars. Dawn Golden, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, was also on hand to support the presentation.  A special thank you to restaurant general manager Kevin Cooper for making the arrangements.

A tremendous amount of credit has to go to Noblemen Club owner Sheldon Oliver for taking the lead on uniting his brotherhood to support the high cost of community service. As a Penn Hills resident and former student-athlete, I am always on guard to do what I can to assist the athletic programs. When I presented the idea to Sheldon back in June 2022, I have to admit I wasn’t sure he could make it happen for this season. But once he was presented with the idea, he “ran” with it. The rest, as they say, is now history.  And as the song concludes, “So when you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. And you’ll finally see the truth that a hero lies in you!”






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