The ninth annual Nike 3 on 3 tournament brought out thousands of basketball players to L.A. Live for a weekend of competition.
To kick off the weekend, Real 92.3 hosted the celebrity basketball game, which featured R&B singer Eric Bellinger, “All Eyez on Me” star Demetrius Shipp, Basketball Wives star Laura Govan and others.
Legendary radio personality Big Boy and Wild N’ Out creator Nick Cannon went head-to-head as coaches.
“We out here just to enjoy ourselves, hoop for a cause,” said R&B singer Omarion who played for Nick Cannon’s team. “Everywhere around the world, people come to the Staples Center.”
A wide variety of talent was showcased on Saturday and Sunday with a myriad of divisions including children, teen, adult, wheelchair, elite men’s, elite women’s, and Special Olympics. The games on Saturday determined the seeding for the tournaments on Sunday.
This year, the champions of the Elite Men’s and the Elite Women’s divisions will qualify for the 2018 3X3 National Tournament. If they reign victorious there, they could possibly represent the USA in the 2018 3X3 Basketball World Cup.
L.A. Live employees competed, including Ryan Golden, senior director of Business Operations. Golden teamed up with coworkers to create the team “Golden Girls” and competed in the 20 and older Co-ed division.
“It is really an all inclusive event, it’s a chance for people who don’t necessarily get to come downtown and go to a Lakers game, go to a Clippers game,” Golden said. “We want to invite them down to enjoy L.A. Live.”
Teams showed off their creativity with customized uniforms and unique team names. The teams “ADD ME ON SNAP,” “SD Black Mambas,” “Lonzo Ballers,” and “Lebrons Hairline” competed with “ADD ME ON SNAP” and “Lebrons Hairline” conquering their brackets.
The team “Blew Bye U” won the championship of the teen female bracket for ages 13-15. Teammates of “Blew Bye U” were once members of the same travel team, according to team member Parker Montgomery.
“We know how to work together, we use what we have efficiently,” Montgomery said. “You can see all the different people, how they play basketball, different styles.”
Joshua Sowell, 19, enjoyed playing in front of his mom for the “Rancho Renegade.” He noted how the tournament is fun and a great place for practice.
“It gives us a way to connect with each other and get better as a team,” Sowell said. “We’re like a family, not just a team.”
Zoe Bryant, 13, returns this year with her team “WESTSIDE ELITE” who was the champion of their bracket in 2016.
“It was really fun last year because it’s our first time,” Bryant said.
Teams throughout Southern California and out of the state came to the Basketball Tournament. Darington Banks was invited by his friends to play for the “Las Vegas Legends.”
“We all come from Tarkanian basketball,” Banks said. “We all just decided to come out here for a 3on3 to show California what we got from Las Vegas.”
Anthony Minnoy, 11, and his teammates Owen Kim and Darien Finister make up the team “DOA,” meaning ‘dead on arrival.’ Minnoy and Finister boasted the moment when Kim broke their opponents’ ankles during one of their games.
“His ankles are still on the court,” Minnoy said about their opponent. “My team is pretty good.”
Siah Nix searched for young talent for his team “Squad,” which was made up of his son, a player from Coachella and Las Vegas.
“It’s a great accomplishment for us to come here with some new kids and show them what the world of basketball is all about,” Nix said.
L.A. Live partnered with the city of Los Angeles and Eventuris in order to make the tournament possible. Eventuris provides the hoops and courts; they also manage the system teams register on and place teams on brackets, according to Golden.
AEG provides the VIP area and entertainment. Along with the tournament was a festival where people could compete for prizes along with a slam dunk contest on Saturday. There was also a basketball clinic for the Boys and Girls Scouts of America.