The Basketball Match will play one in every of its eight regionals at historic Rucker Park in New York Metropolis, the primary time the annual occasion will maintain video games open air.
The TBT introduced Thursday that Rucker Park will host video games from July 16-20, with the winner shifting on to the quarterfinals on the College of Dayton on July 29-30.
“Rucker Park has at all times been a dream of ours,” TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar informed ESPN. “TBT is an open match format, and we would like it to be a celebration of all issues basketball. Individuals assemble from the professionals, from school, from the YMCA. And Rucker Park, to me, has at all times been the top of a melting pot for basketball. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson enjoying there in opposition to guys you have by no means heard of earlier than. That openness epitomizes TBT.”
Mugar stated the thought first happened after final summer time’s occasion, when the organizers had been in search of distinctive locations to host video games. They’d by no means performed open air earlier than — they got here shut throughout 2020’s bubble setting, when the thought of placing a court docket in the course of Ohio Stadium was closely mentioned — and Rucker Park appeared like the proper location to pursue.
“Rucker Park has at all times been a dream of ours. TBT is an open match format, and we would like it to be a celebration of all issues basketball. Individuals assemble from the professionals, from school, from the YMCA. And Rucker Park, to me, has at all times been the top of a melting pot for basketball. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson enjoying there in opposition to guys you have by no means heard of earlier than. That openness epitomizes TBT.”
TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar
The primary group that organizers contacted to gauge curiosity was the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation, which had partnered with NYC Parks to renovate Greg Marius Court docket at Rucker Park.
“We’re very excited for this partnership and to assist The Basketball Match coming to the newly renovated Greg Marius Court docket at Holcombe Rucker Park,” NBPA president and New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum stated in an announcement. “This match promotes and celebrates the sport of basketball in a really distinctive style and it is a pure collaboration for the NBPA and our gamers.”
After the NBPA was on board, Mugar and the TBT additionally obtained buy-in from the workplace of New York Metropolis Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Parks, two teams that use the park — Entertainers 155 Rucker Park and the Nationwide Affiliation of Every One Train One Inc. — and The Doe Fund and landed Chick-Fil-A Tri State because the presenting accomplice.
“It is an incredible improvement for us,” Mugar informed ESPN. “It is an incredible alternative for us as a result of we’re in 12 months 9 and the chance would not have come about with out eight years of historical past. It was an enormous enterprise to get so far. The partnership with the NBPA, the mayor’s workplace, the parks division had an enormous hand in it, organizations that play at Rucker Park. We would not have gotten so far with out historical past.”
Mugar stated his dream can be for Jay Z and Fats Joe to every enter a workforce for the Rucker Regional, harkening again to the legendary 2003 recreation that by no means occurred. The New York rappers had put collectively star-studded groups to face off at Rucker Park earlier than a blackout canceled the sport.
“If these two enter a workforce, we’ll match them up in Spherical 1,” Mugar stated.
The TBT started in 2014, when Notre Dame Preventing Alumni gained the primary championship. Abroad Elite gained the following 4 titles earlier than their streak resulted in 2019 by the hands of Carmen’s Crew, a workforce of Ohio State alumni. Marquette-centric Golden Eagles Alumni gained in 2020, with Syracuse-focused Boeheim’s Military taking the title final season.
The opposite regionals this summer time might be held in Charleston, the College of Dayton, the College of New Mexico, Omaha, Syracuse, Wichita State College and Xavier College.
The championship workforce earns $1 million in a winner-take-all title recreation televised on ESPN. This summer time’s championship recreation might be performed at Dayton on Aug. 2.
Requested whether or not the Rucker Park enterprise opened up additional outside choices sooner or later — and whether or not the TBT had any extra surprises for this summer time’s occasion — Mugar was coy.
“Every part is an possibility with TBT,” he stated.