The M.E.F.S.E.C. was a popular sports hub for local, regional, and national sports stars featuring Korleone Young, Antoine Carr, Barry Sanders, and slam dunk champion, Spudd Webb. The “Rucker Park” of the Midwest was featured on countless national platforms, including Sports Illustrated, as one of the top places to play high-quality basketball in America. Wichita native DJ Fisher credits the center for introducing him to the game of basketball, and now almost 50 years after the center’s opening, he is continuing to give back to the community that gave him so much.
At 12, Fisher received his first job at M.E.F.S.E.C, now known as the Lynette Woodard Center, renamed after Naismith Hall of Famer Lynette Woodard. During the city’s summer youth program, he worked for community icons Larry Dennis and Cliff Fanning, where he was introduced to basketball and played in the infamous “Hoop It Up” Summer Basketball League. Fisher is continuing the legacy of the pioneers that established this nationally historic building.
In 2012, DJ started “Just A Kid From Wichita,” a grassroots basketball program to inspire, encourage and motivate the youth of Wichita. The 3-day camp, held Aug. 5-7 at the South YMCA Farha Sports Center, drew 120+ boys and girls aged 5-14 from all across south-central Kansas and provided them an opportunity to learn from some of the best players to come out of Wichita.
“My biggest reason for starting the camp was to be a positive distraction for the youth. Growing up in Wichita, I lost so many friends to gang violence, suicide, substance abuse. What if the men and women that are super powerful in the sports world from Wichita came back? I guarantee you I would not have lost so many people,” said Fisher.
Developed in the early 1970s, the M.E.F.S.E.C. Center created a long-forgotten unique destination for basketball. The basketball tradition in Wichita is rich with NBA legends, college all-Americans, and a legacy of championships. Although basketball was the core of its existence, M.E.F.S.E.C. was more than a basketball court; it became a safe haven for many, offering tutoring services, skate parties, and more.
“If it wasn’t for Cliff Fanning and Larry Dennis opening those doors and showing me the game of basketball. Suppose it wasn’t for that job if it wasn’t for that recreation center and the opportunities that they provided, I wouldn’t be DJ,” said Fisher.
At the camp, participants learned ball-handling, shooting form, rebounding, footwork, and finishing skills from some of the best the game has to offer. Fishermade good on his promise to involve pro-athletes in the camp as role-models.
Here are some of the pro athletes that stopped by the camp:
Lawrence Wright- Harlem Globetrotter, Bradley MBB Alum
Jawanza Poland- Kansas Jayhawk East All-Conference Freshman of the Year, USF MBB Player
Hannah Mortimer- 17th woman to play for Harlem Globetrotters, Wichita State WBB Alum
Jaylyn Agnew- WNBA player for the Atlanta Dream
Tiffany Bias- WNBA Champion, player for the New York Liberty
DJ took his knowledge as an employee and his love for the game and started Defining Sports + Sports Marketing Agency in 2005. Dj has represented the likes of hometown heroes Antoine Carr and 5-Time NBA Champion Ron Harper; and AJ Andrew’s, the first winner of the Gold Glove Award presented since 2016 to the most outstanding fielder in professional softball. Fishers also helped Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes secure a movie deal and assisted her in restoring the Air Swoopes II’s for retro sale, the first for a female athlete’s shoe line.
After overcoming adversity of being doubted, bullied, and overlooked by family and outsiders – DJ has made a name for himself in the sports industry by locking in over 50 Million Dollars in endorsement deals and partnerships for his clients in the last 16 years.