Posts Tagged ‘streetball’

summertime_basketball

We’re smack dab in the middle of July, which means we’re still months removed from the official start of basketball season. However, summertime doesn’t stop many from getting their hoopin’ fix. Just for the mere sake of the seasonal climate during this time of year, the outdoor courts are frequented more, and the local gyms see an increase in people looking to test their skills against other players. See a few examples of people, places, and movements which highlight just how big summertime basketball has been–and is becoming

1. Sonny Hill, and the Baker League

Few individuals have been able to use the game of basketball to make such a remarkable impact upon their local communities like Sonny Hill. Mr. Hill, who is known as “The Mayor of Basketball” in Philadelphia, co-founded the Charles Baker League in 1960. Because of his tremendous contributions to the game of basketball in Philadelphia and beyond, he was inducted in the Philadelphia Sports Hall of FameThe league has witnessed a countless flow of ballers from Philly who have cut their teeth in this legendary bastion of basketball.

2. Rucker Park

Perhaps the most well-known and most popular locale for summertime hoops, the EBC Rucker Park–or “Rucker Park” as many call it–has been graced by the presence of basketball legends on every level, from Richard “Pee Wee” Kirkland, to Kevin “Easy Money Sniper” Durant.

3. The Goodman League

Located in the nation’s capital, The Goodman League has been around for 40 years as of this year, and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

4. The Drew League

While most of the country relishes in the opportunity to enjoy the summer season, Los Angeles is spoiled by warm and abundant sunshine throughout the year, which is probably one of the reasons why there’s no real need for the top-flight players of the Drew League to want to play outside. The league that boasts itself to be “The Most Elite Summer League In The World” has opened its doors to L.A. natives and legends alike, such as rapper The Game, and NBA hoopers such as Nick Young, James Harden, and DeMar DeRozan

5. Quai 54

Now this is where summertime basketball goes global! Held in the City of Lights, this tournament hosts 16 international teams, and 200+ amateur and pro players, according to its website.

6. NBA Summer League

The true to its reputation and business model, the NBA has taken its own summer league to a whole ‘nother level. With this year’s newest draftees and young players aspiring to prove their place in “The League”, be on the lookout for future legends to be made in this annual midsummer basketball proving ground in Las Vegas.

As you can see from the examples above, people, events, and leagues have shattered the notion that basketball is a winter sport. In fact, summertime is when many serious players get better at their craft. Legends are made in the summer. Now, let’s hoop.

ballup

Summer. That one lady who shows up for at least three months out of every year (4-5 depending on what part of the country you live in. Global warming, anyone?). For those of us who consider ourselves basketball heads, Ms. Summer’s arrival marks the official end of “The League“, and the beginning of cookouts, abundant sunshine, and…baseball.

Just from reading the paragraph above, one would be lead to believe that waiting until late October/early November to get their hoops fix will suffice. However, this is where we have been proven wrong, fortunately. There’s a hoops movement sweeping the nation during the summer months around the world. The name of the movement, you ask? BALLUP. Just ask Demetrius Spencer, the Founder & CEO of the world’s largest streetball circuit. “Our tour takes us all across the country, where we open the door for anybody with great basketball talent to have the opportunity to come and try out.”, he says in a recent interview with Omaha.com. Opened in 2009, this tour has seen players such as Grayson “The Professor” Boucher and Taurian “Mr. 720” Fontenette join the BALLUP tour as it hits cities all over the world.

This year, the tour features an opportunity that ballers (and non-ballers alike) would both jump at. Such contests as the Million Dollar Summer Champion are guaranteed to bring the best out of would-be members of the Ballup tour. The contest itself gives players the chance to battle it out to not only become hoops kings of their cities, but also to receive national recognition and the chance to play in Los Angeles on Thursday, July 30 to claim the crown as national champion of the challenge.

If you are like many in basketball land, and you are missing your hoops fix this summer, there’s no longer a need to wait until next year’s basketball season to start. BALLUP will be sure to not only fill that void, but it will also make you a fan…if you aren’t a fan already, that is.

allthingshoops.jpg_1331366393

“Oh, the irony!!!” you may think to yourself in response to my decision to create a page that’s dedicated to all things basketball….on the tail end of basketball season as we know it, of all times too. Just three days ago, the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth franchise NBA title, which all but guarantees their spot on the Mt. Rushmore of legendary NBA franchises, such as the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and L.A. Lakers.

Now that basketball season is over, and most of us probably won’t be treated to any semblance of basketball on television until next week’s NBA Draft, for most die hard fans–particularly those who follow the NBA–indulge themselves in the seemingly endless rumors of free agency talk that oftentimes turns out not to be true for the most part. Does anyone remember the rumors that had Kevin Garnett going to the Lakers in the summer of 2007? What about the rumor of Scottie Pippen becoming a Supersonic back in the summer of ’94? Sure, the talk is provocative, and it makes for excellent conversation material around the water cooler with your buddies at the office, but at the end of the day, they’re….just….rumors.

That being stated, I would like to take the time to give major props to the San Antonio Spurs for winning their fifth in 15 years. I’ve said this many times, but I truly feel that the Spurs are the most disrespected NBA team in NBA history. Notice that I didn’t say that the Spurs were the most despised. That honor would probably have to go to the “Bad Boy” era Detroit Pistons, who won back-to-back NBA titles in 1989 and 1990. I say that the Spurs are the most disrespected team because they lack a key ingredient that many legendary teams possess: CHARISMA. They lack the box-office appeal that moves the fans to buy tickets and pack out the other 28 (There are 30 teams total, but the Lakers and Clippers both share the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Math class is over!) arenas outside of San Antonio to watch them play on the road. Think about it. There were the “Showtime Lakers”, who were led by Magic Johnson. You had the 90’s Chicago Bulls teams led by “Air Jordan”, “Pip”, and Dennis “The Worm” Rodman, who was a charismatic dude all to himself. This lack of “excitement” as it deals with the Spurs is a testament to the personality of the General Manager and coach of that team, Gregg Popovich, and the team’s heart and soul for many years, Tim Duncan.

To me, Duncan has that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-like aura about him, where he just goes about his business and puts in the work. He’s a big man, like Kareem. He has longevity, like Kareem. Also like Kareem, Duncan has amassed Hall-Of-Fame caliber numbers, and will be sorely missed by his team when he finally decides to hang up his Adidas. Growing up as a teenager during the Shaq-Kobe threepeat Lakers teams, and the one-on-one dominance of other players like Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, and Vince Carter, I was understandably caught up in the showmanship of the aforementioned players, while almost ignoring the legend in the making that Tim Duncan was becoming in San Antonio during that time period. Does anyone realize that Duncan has been the ONLY player in NBA history to win championships in THREE DIFFERENT DECADES (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007,and 2014)?? Talk about staying power!

If you’re a “Hoops Head” such as myself, then you won’t limit yourself to waiting for late October/early November to come down with the case of the “Basketball Jones”, you’ve got the fever all year long.