The Basketball Tournament is the cure for hoops fans aching for some on-court action in the heart of summer.
With a $1 million prize on the line, the 97-team tourney will kick off on July 10. Per the Associated Press, "There are at least 125 players with NBA or NBA Development League experience in the field, according to a tournament spokesman."
Big names around the pros are getting involved too, even if they're not suiting up.
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Nick Young is coaching a team called LAUNFD, which has won the Drew League three years running. Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford is a booster for Seattle Pro Am, which will run out former Slam Dunk Contest champion Nate Robinson at point guard.
Other squads are made up of former college players, such as Syracuse-based team Boeheim’s Army, the current fan favorite.
Basically, this thing is big. We'll dive into some of the biggest names who will hit the court below.
But first, here's how you can catch the action.
How TBT Works
Here's a quick breakdown for you, with all information coming from the tourney's official site:
- The event will run from July 10 through August 2.
- The full schedule and bracket can be found here and here.
- The semifinals and championship will be played at Fordham University in New York on Aug. 1-2.
- The semis and finals will also air on ESPN.
- Teams are grouped into four regional brackets: West, South, Midwest, Northeast.
- Winner takes the $1 million prize.
- TBT tweeted out a live stream link too:
Now that we've got the numbers down, let’s talk about what matters most—the players.
There are former pros and college studs throughout the field. One team in particular—Grantland—is overflowing with NBA star power.
No, not the website. The Grantland brigade is led by San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner at general manager, and that's just the start of this party.
Filling out the roster are former NBA folk heroes/studs Brian Scalabrine, Mike Bibby and Jason Williams as well as Reggie Williams, who played with the Spurs last season.
White Chocolate is one of the biggest players to watch heading into this battle royal. Even at 39 years old, the former Sacramento Kings floor general has the ball on an absolute string. Just ask the poor souls who tried to guard him at a pro-am game in Orlando.
In this up-and-down, playground-type contest, Williams will likely emerge as one of the tournament’s biggest stars.
Throw film director/actor Michael Rapaport in there as coach, and this team looks like a safe bet to win it all.
Or, you know, at least get pretty far. In a single-elimination tournament with this many teams, anything is possible.