The 1977 US All-Star team is deemed the most powerful visiting squad ever assembled for the Capital Classic. In all, nine of twelve US players went on to play for NBA teams. The US All-Star cast included Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers), Gene Banks (Chicago Bulls), Darnell Valentine (Cleveland Cavaliers), Albert King (Washington Bullets) and Jeff Ruland (Detroit Pistons). The team boasted quickness, speed, power, and finally out ran their local counterparts 112-92. “We made them struggle for three and a half quarters, then they just ran away,” offered Capital All-Star Coach Red Jenkins of W.T. Woodson High School. “I didn’t think they would be that much tougher than us on the boards, it wasn’t a matter of hustle, it was a matter of size.” Capital All-Star Craig Harris (T.C.Williams) brought the 16,048 fans in attendance to their feet several times during the evening. The 5-8 guard proved to be the spark the other local team needed in the first half, distributing three assists, scoring 10 points, and even stepping in to take a charging foul from the 210-pound Banks. The US All-Stars led 89-81 with just 5:20 left in the game. Quickly, Banks went to work, scoring six straight points to trigger the nationals to a 15-4 runs that put the game out of reach. Valentine, Ruland and Ray Tolbert contributed 12 points apiece, while future three-time NBA MVP Magic Johnson scored seven points.
JACKSON CONTINUES TO SHINE The Capital All-Stars were led in the 1977 by one of the greatest pure shooters to ever play in the Washington Metropolitan area. Paint Branch’s Tracy Jackson, a 6-5 wing player, scored 12 points for the Capital Team. As a standout at Notre Dame, the former Washington Post Metro Player of the Year averaged 11.3 points per game during his collegiate career and went on to play for the Washington Bullets, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers. He was the only player from the 1977 Capital All-Stars to reach the NBA level.