SPOKANE, Wash. – In case you missed it or don’t even know a thing about Hoopfest, two words can only describe it, huge and awesome. Hoopfest is the world’s largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament that takes place in downtown Spokane, Washington during the last weekend of June.
Hoopfest got started on June 30 and finished up on July 1 in 1990 and has now been played for 21 years, with each year breaking its own record for the most players playing a 3-on-3 tournament. This year’s Hoopfest hosted 6,933 teams, 208 more teams than the previous year of 2009, bringing this year’s total number of players to 27,110.
Back when it all started, Hoopfest was played on 35 courts in downtown Spokane with 2,009 players. Now it’s grown to over 447 courts that are spread across streets in downtown, across bridges, and in parking lots of restaurants. It’s huge!
Hoopfest is open to anyone and everyone with divisions ranging from wheelchair to Special Olympics to youth to elite. The elite division is the highest competition of the tournament with former college basketball players, finally being able to play due to NCAA regulations. It also brings in teams from out of state who travel around the country to play in 3-on-3 tournaments. Also in the elite division, there is a cash prize of $5,000 to the winners of Hoopfest and also a trophy to go along with it. As the elite division winds down, the final couple of games take place in the middle of Riverfront Park on the Nike Center Court with the championship game televised on a local Spokane station.
During the Saturday and Sunday affair, Hoopfest is like a big carnival. There are a number of booths of local companies and food stands throughout the park. Hoopfest also brings in a special guest. Last year it was Kareem Abdul Jabbar. In 2010, Shawn Kemp made an appearance.
Each year Spokane gears up for the last weekend of June. Only two things happen in Spokane all year long that brings Spokane alive, the Bloomsday Run and Hoopfest. These two events are the biggest in town. Yeah of course, Spokane has hosted the NCAA Men’s and Women’s first and second rounds basketball tournament and yeah, Spokane hosted the 2010 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but nothing gets people more excited than Hoopfest.
Hoopfest wouldn’t have happen smoothly if it weren’t for the thousands of volunteers who set up the courts on the Friday night before the tournament starts on Saturday. Spokane closes the area streets at 5 p.m. PT and that’s when all the trucks with the hoops and forklifts go to work. The volunteers lay down reflective yellow tape to mark the boundaries and white reflective tape for the 2-point arc and the key.
So if you want to come check this amazing event out next year, it’s set for June 25-26. Come see what the Spokane Hoopfest has to offer. Great time, great entertainment, and oh by the way, for all you guys, lots of good looking girls.
Come hoop it up at the world’s largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament in Spokane, Washington.
For more information about Hoopfest, go online at www.spokanehoopfest.net
Photo by Murray Huppin