For years, the Hubbard brothers, Marty and Kelly, would officiate high school basketball games together for the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials Board 10.
Both brothers decided in the fall not to officiate games this season due to the Coronavirus, with the hopes of returning to the court for the 2021-22 high school season. But it wasn’t long after that decision was made when Kelly Hubbard, an Ansonia resident, was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“We are a close-knit family of six brothers, This has really hit us hard,” said Marty, a Derby resident, who is 54, four years younger than Kelly. “We couldn’t go into his home when this first happened due to the pandemic. Probably three or four weeks went by before we were able to go inside the house and see him.”
Marty and Dennis Kelly, a close family friend, put together a gofundme page on Facebook to help pay for medical bills. There is also the New Haven Football Officials Charity that helps those who officiate games in both football and basketball, as well as people in the community, during their time of need that will help the Hubbard’s cause.
Dennis Kelly has taken it a step further. He has organized a small event Saturday at the Derby Veterans Community Center that will include some of Kelly Hubbard’s family and friends.
A pair of fifth grade basketball teams from Dennis Kelly’s Dribble Drive Basketball organization will hold a scrimmage that will be officiated by Marty Hubbard among others. Also, Jack “Blackjack” Ryan, a renowned sharpshooter and trick-shot artist who once toured with the Harlem Wizards, will perform a show there. Ryan’s life was profiled in a film last year titled “Black Jack.”
“This is important to me because Kelly is a friend of mine who has dedicated much of his life to his family and his community,” Dennis Kelly said. “He is a well-respected referee and he needs a hand. We are looking to bring a little basketball joy to his life and I want to support him in any way that I can. We will be following COVID guidelines on Saturday.”
Why this is even tougher for Kelly Hubbard is his son, also named Kelly, died after a long battle with cancer in 2013. Marty said Kelly’s wife Linda has been “the true champion” having dealt with that tragedy and now her husband’s battle with cancer.
“This is going to lift his spirits, take his mind off of what he has been going through, be able to see some friends he hasn’t seen in awhile and enjoy being out,” Marty said.
Those interested in donating to Hubbard’s cause can visit his gofundme page.