Houston Streetball turns 1 year! The Story

It was a regular weekday evening like any other day late November. Because of Daylight’s saving time, it was dark already by 5pm.  I had stopped by the local stomping grounds of Charlton Park where I had been hooping on a regular basis but that particular day, there was nobody there.  A car pulled up next to me and it was Philip Ethridge, a fellow regular hooper at Charlton.  “Yo frank, where everybody at?” asked Phil,  “I got no idea man, this sucks” I replied.  It was at this moment that I realized that we needed some form of central communication among our hooper buddies to find out where everybody was playing to avoid situations like this.  “Phil, why don’t we start a group on facebook and just add everyone on there?” I asked.  And sure enough that evening I went home to think of a couple of ideas.  At first I was considering making a group called “Charlton Ballers” but it sounded too corny, and most important I figured if the group got popular enough there would be a point that we wouldn’t be able to grow solely because of the name “Charlton”, we would always be limited mostly to the players that hoop there.  Since playing at a park symbolizes streetball in the typical sense, I searched online for keyword “Houston Streetball” and no results were found, I thought to myself, surely in a city this big, there must be something related but after further searching, I said to myself “Houston Streetball” it is and formed the group on Facebook.  Phil was the second member to join and my fellow friends that I grew up up playing basketball known as “Rocket Town” would be the first members to be added.  Phil knew way more people than I did and he added over 50 people that night, and thus we were off to a great start.

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First time with scoreboard

As more people started joining the group, I started venturing out to other parks to promote the movement.  I bought a scoreboard off amazon and started taking it with me to each park I went to, people always gave me a funny look like “What’s this guy doing here and why does have that garbage with him, we can keep count” but little by little people started being receptive towards a small bit of positive change and when there was close games, there wasn’t any more arguing what the score was.  My wife got me a gopro hero session for Christmas, this one was different unlike the other models, its a really small cube that can get mounted almost anywhere, it came with a headstrap and I thought, why not take video while I play, kind of like first person.  I started making small mixtapes of myself playing at Charlton and started uploading them online and people began to notice.

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The first Le tour de Houston

It was about February and our group had reached at that point around 300 members.  I wanted to throw a tournament but was back and forth about it, a member from the group, Rudy Ortega decided that he wanted to do a tournament and got everyone hyped, so I said, okay let’s just do it and helped him with what I could.  We we were able to get 8 teams that day and the tournament was a success.  Immediately after the tournament an extra 400 people joined our group over night.  Trying to continue the momentum of having people excited, I thought wouldn’t it be cool if we could go park to park and have everyone play each other? Rudy Ortega mentioned on a post “why not call le tour de houston” and immediately I thought, man that was a great idea. So I took the concept of Le Tour de France and modified the logo with a basketball and designed a flyer with a map including 9 venues and each time we stopped by a new place to hoop, more people became interested and joined our group making it bigger.

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Our 2nd tournament

April rolled around and our popularity continued growing, it was time for another tournament and previously in a tournament the Houston Rockets hosted I had met a marketing executive that worked with ZTE that was interested in sponsoring our tournament by throwing in some of the latest smartphones.  The local Popeyes I’ve been going to for several months also sponsored the tournament by giving us some coupons. This time we also ordered several trophies to give away and a buddy of mine that works for Adidas gave me a gift card to give away.  This tournament was even more successful than the first one as we were able to get a total of 12 teams.

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The 2nd Le Tour de Houston

The 2nd Le Tour de Houston needed to happen, with more members joining from all parts of town we did a west coast edition.  We went as far as Tomball, Katy, and Cypress to spread the word.  Interestingly enough by this point by most of the stops we came to hoop people had heard about us.  At the end of this tour, we threw a barbecue for everyone at Cottage Grove which was gratuitously offered by Marcelo Garza.

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We didn’t end up doing a 3rd tournament or a third Le Tour de Houston after the summer as I had originally had hoped so but I did wanted to do something before the year ended and thus to celebrate our first year of existence we are throwing an all star contest that will be held at Charlton Park for free.  Everyone in the group and public is invited to attend to participate and the all star game will be played from players in the group that will be voted upon each other in a West vs East !!!.

I definitely want to thank all the people that have joined our group and continue to make it a success because without everyone, Houston Streetball wouldn’t be possible.  Before Houston Streetball, I was only hooping on occasion at Charlton Park, since then I’ve probably have been to over 50 places and have hundreds of people from all over Houston. Playing against different people that are better than you is bound to have an effect on your overall game and I can definitely say my game has improved so much in one year.  I hope to continue doing my best in promoting basketball for our city in any way shape or form. At this time, we have just under 2500 members to our group and we continue growing little by little each day.

Hope to see everyone out next Saturday on December 10th.

The Houston Dew NBA 3X, Part 1

Today was a great day for basketball in the City of Houston.   The Dew NBA 3X tournament sponsored by Mountain took place at the Revention Music Center in downtown.  Registration was completely free and it was first come, first serve to the first 32 teams that did the online application.

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Outside the Revention Music Center
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HSB Le’Equipe, ready to tear down the building

Once inside the building and after registration I learned that parking was free in the valet section to all participants, I had already paid $10 in the parking garage next to location. The team name that I chose for my team was HSB Le’Equipe which stands for Houston Streetball and Le’Equipe meaning in French for “The Team”.  After signing up we got some wrist bracelets to help the organizers easier to identify between players and spectators. Everyone who was participating in the tournament got a uniform (reversible jersey and shorts) with numbers on the back which we got to keep which was pretty cool and a nice snapback cap with the dewnba3x logo.

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Playing NBA2K17 in between the games
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Trainers stretching the players

What was cool about the tournament, is that the organizers went all out making all the players feel at home.  There was a lounge that only players were allowed exclusive access to which had very nice sofas, tables with fruit, and mountain dew energy drinks.  There was also two big screens with linked PS4s for players to play 2 vs 2 NBA2K17.  The most impressive thing about the lounge were the two treatment tables and two wonderful ladies that were there to get your muscles stretched and get you taped up for the games, I did take the offer on getting stretched and let the gal know if she had a tip jar but she said no and when I insisted on even $5 she still refused and didn’t let me tip her.

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Saturday Group Play

As previously mentioned, there was a total of 32 registered teams and they were setup in 8 groups of 4 teams each.  Every team would play each team in the group once which would make a total of three games for everyone.  The rules of the tournament were that of FIBA 3x rules which were simple to follow at first and somewhat strange afterwards (first time I played using this rules) The basic rules are 21 points to win (1s and 2s) or most points at 10 minutes, game is continuous after a point is scored meaning that when a point is scored, the opposing team picks up the ball immediately and has to take it out to the three point line and has a 12 second shot clock to score, with the short shot clock this made the games fast paced and very tiring.  The one thing I had a tough time figuring out at the time were rules on how fouls were applied.  After reading the rules online, it basically says that after 6 fouls a team is in the penalty, if a player is fouled while shooting then that player shoots 1 free throw unless they were shooting a 2 pointer then the player shoots two free throws. If a player is fouled and makes the bucket then it’s an and1 and shoots a free throw.  At 7th, 8th, 9th fouls teams are further penalized by having the player who was fouled shoot two free throws and after the 10th foul teams are even further penalized by having the player shoot two free throws and that same team takes out, one game in particular that I spectated had committed 10 fouls so everytime they fouled afterwards the opposing team shot two free throws and they took out which was very difficult to have possession.

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Gary Payton giving an interview

Gary Payton was in attendance as the official ambassador of the inaugural season of the DewNBA3x tournament. For some odd reason I thought he was a lot shorter in person (I’m 6’0″), but I took a picture with him and he was definitely taller than me, sometimes the NBA adds 1 or 2 inches to certain players but Gary Payton is a full 6’4″.   He was very well spoken and asked how the tournament was going and everything, he didn’t trash talk at all as he was known as a player throughout his career.

My team did well today despite not advancing to tomorrow’s elimination rounds.  We got off to a good start by winning the first game against a team called Roc La Familia but lost the second game to a team called BAMF.  On that game against BAMF we had a lot of turn overs and most importantly played bad perimeter defense which allowed us to give up at least 14 points from the 2 point line, we managed to scramble a couple of points but couldn’t do anything significantly to catch up. On game point for BAMF while I was driving in, I lost the ball and one of the players for opposing team got it and lobbed it up for one of their guys to dunk the alley oop and seal the game.  Our final and third game was against a team called KDC International.   We knew our final game was going to be tough because I talked to the guys from BAMF who told us that KDC international gave them a good run for their money and the game finished 21 to 19 in favor of BAMF and this meant that the winner of our game against KDC would guarantee passage to the next round of games.  We started off pretty good and traded buckets with KDC for the first couple of points but started to lose our pace.  A couple of open two’s for KDC allowed them to get a small lead little by little.  At the three minute mark I called time out and we were down by 7 points but we couldn’t take advantage of the small break and make a run for it and in the end time ran out and we ended up losing the game.  With only one win, our time at the dewnba3x came to a close but we still left with our heads held up high, after all we didn’t practice prior at all together and it was just a team put together in the last minute.  I definitely would like to take a couple of ideas from here and apply it to our next tournament for Houston Streetball which I’m currently planning for November.  I’ll try to make it out tomorrow to find out the winner and see who will represent Houston in Los Angeles for the national champion, that winner in turn represent the USA in the Global FIBA 3×3 tournament held in Europe.

More pictures in the gallery below.

The park vs park vs park vs park vs park vs park challenge , the recap

It was an event to remember, possibly the first multi park challenge in all of Houston.  It all started when guys from Amity Park challenged Charlton Park to a game not to long ago (read recap).  Several people in our Houston Streetball group on Facebook started talking about setting up another one, so I figured why not organize a bigger one and so that is what happened. Randall Speir who is a friend of mine msged me earlier during the week and let me know there is a place up north with several courts, seemed to good to be true but sure enough after seeing a picture of it and that it was open Sunday and only $8 per person, it seemed the best fit for the challenge.

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MI3 Center from the outside.

As I pulled up to the location, the building sure looked impressive and surely cost and arm and leg to get built. I’d been in the Fonde where they have two full sized courts but this place had 6 full sized courts back to back. Everyone showed up around 3:30pm and with warm ups and figuring out how to organize the games it took us around an extra 30 minutes. From all the parks that mentioned they would have people represent, the following parks showed up.  Tidwell Park, Burnett Bailey Park (Chimney Rock), Martin Luther King Park (Tomball), Woodlands Group, MI3 Youth, and I scrapped up a team of mix players since my guys out of Charlton bailed out on me.

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Big group picture

Before the games started, we all took a big group picture for our collection, after all these types of events don’t happen often and everyone would be sweaty in the end.  Since there was only 6 teams, we decided that everyone was going to play each other once, 5 games in total for everyone.  The rules of the challenge were simple, 5 vs 5 full court with subs, first to 15 wins and the top 2 teams with the best record play each other one last time to claim the unofficial park vs park champion.

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Scores in the end

With everyone playing everyone, Chimney Rock landed the best record with 5 wins in a row and the 2nd best team was Tidwell Park who managed to lose only one game in the very beginning.  The MI3 team which actually compromised of under 18 players were the stand out team as they gave a good run against several teams, later I found out that those young guys play AAU basketball so it was a no wonder they were able play so well together. I was playing my last game against MI3, when I just heard shouting and arguing on the otherside as Tidwell played Chimney Rock, I looked at the score and it was tied 12 to 12, so they were going all out and not trying to lose.  There was no deuce so when it was 14 to 14, the game was intense but in the end Tidwell had one guy open on a mid jumper and landed the final point. With Tidwell winning the championship game, they have become the unofficial park vs park champion, next time with more preparation and organization we will try to have more parks come through and maybe have some trophies to give out.  I have enrolled back in school and with class starting in a week, I’ll be playing less but none the less I’m always involved one way or another with basketball.  The Mountain Dew Tournament 3×3 is three weeks away and I signed up and many others from the group as well, it should be exciting.  There’s always new people that are hearing about Houston Streetball and if you’re not in the official group, make sure you join by clicking here.  Until then, keep calm and
#houstonstreetball

I took a few pictures of teams but only managed to get 4 of the teams since I was also playing it made it kind of hard to get everyone.

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HSB The Mix, with Kyren Peacock photobombing 🙂
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Martin Luther King Park (Tomball,TX)
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Woodlands Group
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MI3 Youth team.

Thank you everyone for coming out.

Southpark Baptist League, Day 1

Around Houston, many leagues are starting up again and I had time to stop by yesterday at the Southpark Baptist Church for a new league season.  I had previously stopped by in the first Le Tour de Houston and hooped a few times afterwards on open gym days but it’s been several months since I last came.  I was invited to get a team together and play but due to my schedule with school starting up I would not be able to , I did however stopped by to show support in anyway I can.

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Prayer before the games

Before every game starts, a prayer is said before the game to have the lord bless the players.  First game was scheduled to start at 6pm but because it was the first day, games didn’t get started till about 7:00pm.   Games at this league are played two 20 minute halves and will be played every Thursday.   There is still room for a few extra teams and if you’re interested stop by and talk to James Slaughter and he can be contacted at 281-658-4663.    I’ll try to update with any news as it comes to me. Best of luck to all the teams.

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