Largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament -
Spokane Hoopfest sets world record
SPOKANE, Wash., USA -- The Spokane Hoopfest Association
hosted last June their annual 3-on-3 street basketball tournament
which included 26,656 players on 6,725 teams - setting the
new world record for the Largest
3-on-3 street basketball tournament.
With the generous support of the City of
Spokane, many wonderful sponsors, and over 3,000 dedicated
has grown into an unparalled event that is cherished by the
In winning the 2003 Agora Award for
Business Excellence, the judges said the following about Hoopfest:
"No other single event (here) brings together people of such
diverse cultures, economic conditions, and ages for a common
purpose. And this common purpose is not just basketball. It
is cheering for one another, working together, competing fairly,
and celebrating Spokane."
Hardly an original idea — 3-on-3 basketball
tournaments have been around for decades — Hoopfest has grown
unlike any other.
The basics go something like this: Teams
sign up months in advance. Teams give themselves names meant
to amuse, confuse, titillate, intimidate or advertise.
One intriguing first-round match featured
Tom Selleck’s Moustache versus Cocoa and His Butter. Grade
schoolers love names including “hoopsters.” Teenagers prefer
“ballerz,” using a “z” wherever an “s” would suffice.
Young adults often incorporate Spokane’s
509 area code to brand themselves with street cred. Older
players like self-deprecating monikers, like Dormant Muscle
or Wounded Knees.
Teams are divided into brackets, usually
16 teams each, by age, skill level, gender (there are co-ed
teams, too) and (sometimes) height. About half of the players
On Friday night, streets are shuttered
and some of the event’s 3,000 volunteers measure and mark
courts with eight miles’ worth of shiny highway tape — yellow
for boundaries, white for the key, take-back line and 3-point
line, which is actually a 2-point line, because baskets are
worth 1 and 2 points, not 2 and 3.
Photo: Steve Merrill of Bonners
Ferry, Idaho, prevailed in the dunk contest at the 20th annual
Hoopfest. Photo by Rajah Bose for The New York Times (enlarge
Basketball standards, stored in a warehouse
outside of town, are arranged by forklifts according to the
sponsor logo tattooed on each backboard.
Players converge from just about every state
and several countries. Teams create their own uniforms. Tie-dye
Each bracket is assigned a court.
Each court is assigned a monitor who oversees the action and
settles disputes if the teams cannot. Only the elite brackets
and children — who, surprisingly, do not tattle much when
asked to call fouls on others — have referees.
Teams play a double-elimination tournament
to determine the winner of each bracket. T-shirts are awarded.
The power of such booty should not be underestimated.
“The prize is really bragging rights,” Rick
Betts, a Hoopfest co-founder, said. “And wearing your T-shirt
Each participant receives a T-shirt, declaring
him or her a “player.” Bracket champions and runners-up get
shirts proclaiming their success.
But the Loser King shirt may be the most
coveted of them all. They go to the 13th-place finisher, a
team that lost its first two games but won the consolation
rounds. Teams have been known to intentionally lose twice
for the right to earn one.
Nearly 800 teams have registered for the
2010 tournament, which is well ahead of last season’s registration.
Hoopfest organizers are urging teams to get their
registrations in by the guaranteed registration date of May