It is amazing to see how large BET Weekend has become over the past few years in Los Angeles. What started out as simply an awards show celebrating the best in Black entertainment has turned into nearly a week of events that include any number of parties, panels, red carpets, and yes, even celebrity basketball games. Not to be outdone by the other events that surrounded a wonderful weekend of festivities, it was only right that Hard Knock TV hosted its 9th Hard Knock Hoops 3-on-3 Celebrity Basketball Tournament, which turned out to be their largest ever.
Let’s be clear. This tournament is not for the weak or noncompetitive…casual ballers need not apply. Unlike other celebrity games where artists and celebrities moonlight as basketball players to entertain their fans, those that receive the invite to Hard Knock’s tournament come to play, and play to win. With fourteen teams representing artists, tastemakers, music industry professionals, and even pro athletes, the grueling double elimination tournament is truly a test of who really wants it the most…“it” being the title of Tournament Champion. Yes, there are cool prizes like game consoles and what not, but those are just perks compared to the bragging rights, respect, and the feeling of being a winner.
This latest tournament saw the field expand to fourteen teams, the most in the tournament’s history. Among the returning competitors was Inglewood native and hip-hop artist Thurz, producer extraordinaire Drumma Boy, L.A. rap trio Pac Div, indie rap label Funk Volume, and media outlets Hip Hop DX, Hip Hop Wired, Forbes, Vibe and Complex. There was added anticipation to watch former champs Dorrough and Trinidad Jame$ return to the competition, but instead of going head-to-head as they have in past tournaments, this time around they ran on a squad together as teammates.
Along with the competitors that have participated in several runs over the past few years, there was also some new blood added to the mix. Among the most notable was the addition of J. Cole representatives, Dreamville. Though the late arrivals almost missed the tip off, they wasted no time making their presence felt, running through the field quickly, with some games being blowouts. In all fairness, the team had the help of NFL wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, who showed he can handle himself on a court just as well as he could on a field.
Though they had to overcome a loss to Dreamville in the third round, Trinidad and Dorrough took their “Gold Gang” team through the consolation bracket and fought back through a number of grueling games. With tough wins against production duo Christian Rich, the Stereotypes, and Funk Volume, Gold Gang was able to make it to the Finals, where an undefeated Dreamville team waited patiently in hopes of taking the title. The game started off with Dreamville taking a quick eleven to nothing lead, and while one of the Dreamville players tended to a cut below his eye, Gold Gang attempted to mount a comeback. Though Gold Gang was able to eventually put some numbers on the board, Dreamville ultimately locked up the “W”, and took the tournament title while going undefeated.
Once again, the tournament proved to be a success, providing a nice outlet from all of the weekend hoopla and allowing some of the industry’s best to enjoy some friendly competition. Special thanks to adidas, CORE water, Xbox, EA Sports and the folks at the Da Vinci in Downtown L.A. for being gracious hosts. Check out some of the pictures from the games below and facebook.com/hardknocktv for even more photos. Thank you to @D__Lam, @porterhousela, @samantha_j and @shootinhd for the the amazing visuals!
Also be sure to follow @hardknockhoops for details on upcoming tournaments. #hardknockhoops #crazylightboost
Thank You’s and Acknowledgements:
Trinidad Jame$, Dorrough Music, Roscoe Dash, Noah Preston (Def Jam), Dame Ritter (Funk Volume), Trent Clark (HipHop Wired), Dreamville + Kevin Ogletree (NFL player), Chuck Inglish, Thurz, Pac Div, Jamal Munnerlyn (Vibe), Christian Rich, Drumma Boy, Justin Hunte (HipHopDX), Soren Baker(HipHopDX), DJ Bizzy, Jacques Slade (Complex), Nick Restivo (Complex), The Stereotypes, Young Hollywood (dunk champion), Julian Mitchell (Forbes), Jeriel Johnson (Grammy’s), Brandon Cox (Konami Digital Entertainment), Doug Sanders(PR Nick Young), Amir Mohamadzadeh (Rosewood), Jesse Lebeau (Basketball Influencer) and Zack Woolridge (AEG)
Words by: Mark Anthony Jenkins
(Twitter and IG: @markanthonyj20)