On the last full day of SXSW’s music festival, Hard Knock TV and The Smoking Section once again partnered up to throw what is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite event of the week…the annual HoopXHang 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. With a rounded out mix of artists, media, and tastemakers, this year’s event proved to be the biggest and best thus far, complete with a comeback finish that came down to the wire..
For those that aren’t familiar, here’s the run down: 16 teams. Single elimination. Win or become a spectator. There are no consolation prizes or moral victories for those that don’t advance…just a straight up game of 3-on-3, where 2’s and 3’s are allowed and the refs aren’t quick to blow the whistle. This year’s squads were made up of several returning players such as Problem, Ro Spit, DJ Trackstar, Hustle Simmons, King Vada, PUSH!, Richie Abbott, and others, while there was some new heads in the building that came to show and prove like Dizzy Wright, Drumma Boy, Killa Kyleon, Z-Ro, Clyde Carson, and most notably, hip-hops new polarizing presence, Trinidad Jame$.
Though the *defending champs from 2012 were notably missing from this year’s competition, the event was no doubt just as intense as teams battled for bragging rights and the chance to call themselves “champions” in 2013.
*Note: In all fairness, Team Hard Knock was a no show due to Nick Huff answering a last minute call to interview 50 Cent for SXSW’s Keynote interview series, and DJ Hyphen skipped the trip altogether due to injury. This writer was assured that they would be back next year, so no need to worry…
There were several notable games, with most teams competing quite well in an attempt to advance to the next round. The West was represented by Problem and his squad, which featured the likes of Clyde Carson, Drumma Boy, and Damani (the latter who had to bow out early to a dislocated finger), Houston’s own Killa Kyleon and his team that eventually became the hometown favorite, and the surprising “Gold Gang” out of Atlanta, consisting of Trinidad Jame$ and crew.
As the sixteen teams dwindled to eight, four, and then finally two, the battle of attrition lead to a final game between Trinidad’s “Gold Gang”, and Killa’s team, “#RunIt”. Fans left the stands and surrounded the court to catch the final match up, and what looked like a game that would end up in a rout, eventually became competitive and downright exciting to the very end. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say there that the winner came back from a 6 point deficit and finished the game with a 3 pointer to quiet the crowd and claim the crown (see video below to catch the finale!).
All in all, the event was an exciting mix of fans, artists, and friends coming together around the game of basketball, and with guest appearances from the likes of Warren G, Big KRIT, and the Houston Texan’s Duane Brown, the 2013 HoopXHang truly lived up to its name. There are plans to go bigger in 2014, as the demand and popularity continues to grow, so if you find yourself in Austin next year, you might want to start shooting in the gym now…it’s that real.
Thank you to all of our competitors:
Tryna Function (Damani, Clyde Carson, Problem, Drumma Boy), Team Vada (YO, Devin, King Vada), Funk Volume (Dizzy Wright, SwizZz, Dame), SoSouth (B-Ham, Dawid, Z-Ro), Chi-troit (YP, Ro Spit, Vic Lloyd), AL-2 (Dutchington, Vince, AL-2), The Force (RT-FaQ, DJ Trackstar, Tech Supreme), Team LEP (Dash, Count, Moonie, Crook, STL, JeVon), Team RA (Dutch, Ryan Hobbs, Adam Fleischer), Gold Gang (Trinidad Jame$, Genesis, Mr. Ross, B.A.), #RunIt (Killa Kyleon, Jacque, Propain), Team Dimplez/TSS (DJ Spintelect, Dee-1, Beware), Team Monster (Richie A., Martin G., Dustin R.), Team Hustle (A Kid Named Breezy, PUSH!, Hustle Simmons) The DJs – DJ Dontizl, Chas Moore, DJ Spintelect and Wally Sparks – who held down the sounds.. GUS Leagues squad for handling the referring and keeping stats (check them here). And a final shout out to everyone from Hard Knock TV and TSS for all the work in planning and executing the event.
Special Thanks to: Monster Energy Drink for keeping everyone hydrated. Nike for lacing players with gear and Pant Saggin for the gift packs. Last but not least everyone who came to “hang” including Warren G, Big K.R.I.T, Devi Dev, Duane Brown of the Texans, Fuzz and Carl of Beats By Dre, Franz from Def Jam, Roderick from Warner among others.
-Mark Anthony Jenkins (@markanthonyj20), Hard Knock TV