In June, many hardcore basketball fans kept tabs on The Basketball Tournament, a 32-team, winner-take-all, 5-on-5 single elimination showdown. The source of intrigue was obvious: Many of the most skilled -- or even most interesting -- basketball players aren't ones we watch plodding up and down the court in the NBA.
If names like Air Up There, The Professor and Sik Wit It mean anything to you, then you'll probably be interested in Ball Up's 2014 Summer Tour, which includes stops in multiple cities with the goal of finding the nation's best under-radar street baller and giving them a $100,000 contract and a roster spot on the undefeated Ball Up All-Stars -- a squad which includes the names previously mentioned.
“Ball Up provides local basketball players with an opportunity to gain national attention and simultaneously establish a career as a professional player,” said Demetrius Spencer, the founder and CEO of Ball Up, in a statement.
Remaining stops of the tour including Birmingham, Chicago, Baltimore (headlined by Metta World Peace and Gilbert Arenas), St. Louis (headlined by Trevor Ariza and Arenas) and Las Vegas. In each city a try-out will take place during the day, during which 10 players will be selected to play against the Ball Up All-Stars that evening. Two MVPs from each city will be invited to participate in a two-day combine camp in which 10 finalists will be selected to play against the Ball Up All-Stars in a championship game in Las Vegas, an event often attended by some familiar faces from the NBA. Broken ankles, reckless dunks and perhaps some light defense are sure to ensue.
Unsurprisingly, the tour will be the subject of a TV show set to premiere on Fox Sports this fall. For more information, you can visit BallUp.com.