Born 1946, Lesley Gilb Taplin was an extraordinary individual. She was a school teacher, artist, actress and a mentor to myself and many other men and women of SKIDROW 3on 3 STREETBALL LEAGUE.
I met Lesley via email a year before I ever met her physically. She had decided to participate in OG's N Service Association's Fathers Day Affair in June of 2006. As a school teacher, her desire was to contribute " books " for the people of Skid Row. Through her, I found out that a great many people in the Skid Row neighborhood " read books"! She told me, a resident, how extremely " intelligent " the people in this neighborhood are.
This partnership grew over the months and years. Lesley became one of my " most trusted and loyal advisor". She became my friend..a special friend indeed. In 2007, when the SKIDROW 3on3 STREETBALL LEAGUE was formed, Lesley Taplin took the lead in photographing the men, women and children of the League. She would always say, " I am not a professional photographer "! But, for me and the other participants, her pictures where " recording history "! Every photograph she took, she would give it to the league. But, more importantly, she would " share these photographs with others, especially the " loft dwellers" that were moving Downtown, Los Angeles.
At South Park, the League's " first road trip ", she was there waiting on our bus to arrive and there she stood with Councilwoman Jan Perry in the role of Ambassador of Skidrow 3on3 Streetball League.
It was her advocating for the Skidrow 3on3 Streetball League that touch me and others. Her efforts brought " two worlds " together. She was also a member of DLANC ( Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council ) Education Committee. Noticing that the League was " special ", she saw our 16 words of the week for what they were, " the educational component of the League " and encouraged the Education Committee to support the League's request for " funding T-Shirts " ( which would have these words on the back).
I could go on and on about her contributions and donations to the League (she would always say, "don't tell anyone "...I don't want any credit for what I have done).
On March 2, 2009, Lesley Gilb Taplin died in a car accident on her way to a meeting Downtown, Los Angeles. The news was something unbearable to many of us... but to this day, her spirit is part of SKIDROW 3 on 3 STREETBALL LEAGUE. Her memory inspires each one of us that knew her to continue fight for was is right. To continue to strive to improve ourselves, our families, our friends and our communities. For me, she will never be forgotten..and this is why we now PROUDLY host: THE LESLEY TAPLIN CLASSIC (SKIDROW 3 ON 3 ).
Manuel Benito Compito (aka OG Man), Commissioner (Skidrow 3on3 Streetball League)
a quote from Lesley Gilb Taplin:
" For several years now I have been " operating" on the principle that the future is unknowable, but my obligations to the future are to be as " present " every day as I possibly can be. To do what I can in the areas I've defined as ones I can contribute to for the betterment of this world, to stay as genuinely happy as possible, to help those nearest and dearest in need, to read a little and think a little and dream a little, and never give up on LOVE. And if I do that every day, then I will have done whatever I can to insure the best possible future for not only myself but those around me. That's what I personally intend to continue doing, those are my own " marching orders ", and none of that really depends on money.....Lesley Gilb Taplin
The LESLEY TAPLIN CLASSIC (2010) will be held at GLADYS PARK, 6th & Gladys Avenue, Downtown Los Angeles. This event will be hosted by SKIDROW 3ON3 STREETBALL LEAGUE September 11 and October 9, 2010.
Registration can be made via email: [email protected] or at Gladys Park (6th Street & Gladys Avenue..2 blocks west of Central Avenue)
Way before anyone, west, north, south or east of the Skidrow Community, Lesley Taplin had begun to " record the history of the League " through the lens of a camera. It is throuygh " her eyes " that the world " first began to see " the strength, the purpose, the vision and the " various features of SKIDROW 3ON3 STREETBALL LEAGUE.
Lesley Taplin was able to see the politics, the community development, the culture, the children, the families and the social implications of the Skidrow 3on3 Streetball League to it's environment. But, again, she 'recorded it " in the most compassionate way, under the radiar!
For more...go to photographs
It was the LEAGUE'S FIRST ROAD TRIP..to take the players and fans outside our neighbor, to visit others and have fun, but also to spread our philosophy...IT'S MORE THAN JUST A GAME!
When the LEAGUE arrived at SOUTH PARK ( 51st & Avalon Blvd ), Lesley had already arrived, as well as had been spending time with Councilwoman Jan Perry. I believe that these moments spent with one another, created a bond between these two " community mind women ". Since that day, I have always seen a common reality between the two....Skidrow 3on3 Streetball League is good.
FOR MORE...GO TO PHOTOS...SOUTH PARK