Who Knew?: I was looking through the ESPN headline feed during the Memorial Day weekend and saw that the USA 3-on-3 basketball team or 3x3 team failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. This is an Olympic event?
Apparently, the sport has been in the Summer Olympics since 2010. News to me. But, where was this sport back in my day?
The backyard ball that we played coming up was of the 3-on-3 or 2-on-2 variety. Some of my favorite memories were being dunked on by CW Mullins in 1-on-1 games.
The "Skin Ankle" gang used to sneak into the old Rec Center in East Tallassee and play in the old gym until the old guys playing dominoes ran us off.
There were also those classic games with neighborhood kids on a goal we could lower to 9 feet. Boy those were the days.
Back to current times, this year's hopefuls from the great basketball playing country - known as the United States of America - lost out to the Netherlands. Yes - the Netherlands.
Do we need to seek out the pros again - much like we did when we came up with the Dream Team back in the 1990s. Are Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird still available? Old or not - I bet they'd take care of the Netherlands.
3-on-3 is a different game than traditional basketball though. I still like our chances with the right guys on the court.
I played in a "Hoop It Up" tournament back in the mid 1990s. It was 3-on-3 basketball. The tourney was in Huntsville where I had my first job out of college.
That first gig was being a deejay on a radio show at an easy listening station. The shift was from 12 a.m. - 5:30 a.m. daily. When you're playing that type of music during the "graveyard shift" you're trying to put people to sleep.
The owner of the radio station offered to be our sponsor paying the entry fee for the basketball tournament. We did well, but got hosed in the championship game.
There weren't officials, so you called fouls yourself using the honor system.
The ball ended up in my hands for the final shot - and I made it. But... the opponents said I traveled before the shot. We disputed it, so the decision came down to a coin toss. We lost the toss and they won on the next possession.
We were disappointed - much like Team USA after losing to the Netherlands.
The owner of the station was quite pleased however. He threw a party for us at barbecue/pizza place. Yes there was a place that sold both and must've done the deal with the station on trade.
As we were about to leave after the celebration for our second place finish, my boss saw that there was still some camp stew in a bowl on the table and drank it (yep turned it up) before leaving. I'd never seen that before.
A few months later, I left the "Rocket City" for another job in another town. I haven't played in a 3-on-3 tournament since, although we broadcast one at the Tallassee Recreation Center a few years ago.
Maybe we should bring it back. Maybe we can produce the next 3-on-3 team that can beat the Netherlands. Any volunteers? I'm game.