Second of two parts
Basketball royalty was on display as two of this state’s most decorated prep players—the King and Queen of Northside hoops of the 1990s—faced off against each other.
Both attended North High. Both were state champions and national champions in college. Both were drafted in the pros and forged successful careers domestically and internationally before retiring from playing.
But until recently, perhaps the one thing that Khalid El-Amin and Tamara Moore hadn’t done in basketball was coach against each other.
That changed on November 15, as El-Amin’s Anoka-Ramsey Rams hosted Moore’s Mesabi Range Norsemen in Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) men’s basketball action.
It was a competitive contest as both teams took turns leading before Anoka-Ramsey went on a 9 to 4 run in the last two minutes of the game to edge out Mesabi Range 74-71.
“It was a really good game for the community,” Moore said afterward, pointing out the history she shared with Khalid “and everything that we’ve been through… being able to say we’re Minneapolis Northside kids or Minneapolis North alumni, or both head coaching college programs, [and] me being a woman coach and his pedigree.”
El-Amin added, “This is just the tip of the iceberg for both of our careers. I [wanted] to kick Tee’s butt,” he said smiling.
Both were charismatic prep players who led their teams to success. Moore led the North Lady Polars to the 1998 state title and was named Ms. Basketball. She graduated as the school’s points, rebounds, assists, and steals leader.
Moore continued her stardom at Wisconsin where she helped lead the Badgers to the 2000 WNIT championship and was named WNIT MVP. She graduated as its all-time leader in assists and steals.
Moore became the 15th overall pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft and played six seasons. She remains the only Northsider to ever wear a Minnesota Lynx jersey (2002), one of six clubs she played for during her WNBA career, and six seasons overseas.
Not too shabby himself, El-Amin led his North Polars to three straight state titles—each one earned under different rules and formats from the previous season. The guard also won Mr. Basketball and attended and played at Connecticut, where he was Big East Rookie of the Year his first year and won the 1999 NCAA national championship in his sophomore season.
Before Chicago drafted El-Amin in 2000, he finished his collegiate career as UConn’s fourth all-time in free throw percentage, sixth in assists, and fifth in steals. He played one NBA season then starred overseas for several seasons.
It would seem natural that both Moore and El-Amin would travel similar routes into coaching: the former coached high school girls’ basketball for seven seasons and launched a semi-pro men’s basketball league in 2019 where she also served as a head coach.
Moore made history when Mesabi Range hired her in 2020 as the first woman head coach of a men’s college basketball team, as well as the first Black woman to hold that distinction in history. Her team made a historic run last season to the MCAC title game.
“We’re gonna make some noise [this season],” predicted Moore. “I guarantee you we’ll be back down here [for the league postseason tournament next March].
Also, last winter, El-Amin, in his second year at Saint Thomas Academy, led the Cadets to a Section 3 AAA runners-up title. He also was an assistant coach at Burnsville and Minneapolis North. Anoka-Ramsey hired him this summer.
“Coaching high school was great. I learned a lot,” said El-Amin. “I’m ready for the next challenge. And I think I’m making a step up to college, that next challenge. [I] just wanted to show everybody and to prove that I can lead a program.
“The game has given us so much,” said El-Amin. “I just feel obligated to give back to the game and give back to the players in my state and in my community where I grew up. We plan to change the culture.”
History will repeat itself this Saturday, Dec. 2, as Moore’s and El-Amin’s teams play each other again at Anoka-Ramsey, at 3 p.m.
“It’s a full circle moment for us being able to really show the community that we have two great people who have been positive influences out of our community,” concluded Moore.