Tag Archives: basketball

First Winner-Take-All $250,000 OBL Finals Headed to The Dollar Loan Center in Las Vegas July 15-16

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — today announced that The Dollar Loan Center in Henderson, Nevada, will host the first-ever OBL Finals on Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16.

A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public for the event at https://bit.ly/OBL-LV. Friday’s event will start at 3 p.m. PDT, with the Championship Finals starting on Saturday at 8 p.m.

“Our proof-of-concept season for the OBL has played out better than we had planned, and The Dollar Loan Center is the perfect stage for us to crown our king,” said McGrady. “OBL talent is top notch, the competition is intense, and the atmosphere for our first-ever finals will be second to none with $250,000 cash on the OBL throne waiting for the winner.”
“Dreams are coming true inside the OBL and Tracy’s vision for change has been spot on,” said Jeffrey Pollack, OBL strategic advisor. “Over the last eight weeks we’ve started to demonstrate that our game has soul, our competition matters, and our events are electric. The gifted and gutsy athletes of the OBL deserve a world-class stage for our championship and that’s what we will create at The Dollar Loan Center.“

“There are few basketball legends and entrepreneurs more astute than Tracy McGrady, and we are proud to welcome his team to our new state-of-the-art arena in Henderson for the OBL’s inaugural championship,” said Kerry Bubolz, CEO of the Foley Entertainment Group, which operates The Dollar Loan Center. “In a city all about action, this promises to be the summer’s most intense event.”

The 22 qualifiers for the OBL Finals are coming to Las Vegas from Regional Championships in Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the DMV, and Los Angeles. The field was culled from over 200 entrants, including many of the best one-on-one athletes in the world with decades of professional and elite college experience. The winner of each OBL Regional took home a $10,000 cash prize, joining the second and third place finishers plus four “wild cards” with invitations to the OBL Finals. In addition to the $250,000 cash prize, the winner in the head-to-head single elimination OBL Finals will be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

The qualifiers are: Grant Anderson, Chicago (Chicago 3rd); George Beamon, Roslyn, N.Y. (Los Angeles 1st); Isaiah Brown, Queens, N.Y. (New York 1st); Yoshi Craig, Chicago (Chicago 2nd); Darien Davis, Coram, N.Y. (New York 3rd); Randy Gill, Los Angeles and Laurel, Md. (Los Angeles 3rd); Marcus Hall, Denver and Houston (Los Angeles 2nd); Antonio Hester, Miami (Atlanta 2nd); Terry Hosley, Baltimore (DMV, wild card); John Jordan, Houston (Houston 1st); Matt Kiatipis, Newmarket, Ontario (Houston 2nd); Kevin Kuteyi, Lanham, Md. (DMV 1st); Eugene Lawrence, Brooklyn, N.Y. (New York, wild card); Zach Radz, Troy, N.Y. (New York 2nd); Glen Rice Jr., Marietta, Ga. (Atlanta 1st); Ridge Shipley, Carrolton, Texas (Houston, wild card); Mario Smith, Kalamazoo, Mich. (Chicago 1st); Chris Staples, Saginaw, Mich (L.A., wild card); Myron Taylor, Killeen, Texas (Houston, 3rd); Tiras Wade, Tampa (Atlanta 3rd); Andrew Washington, Washington, D.C. (DMV 2nd); and Donte Wright, Jackson, S.C. (DMV 3rd).

OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

cover image: Overall OBL No. 1 Seed Isaiah Brown (#11) and NYC #2 qualifier Zach Radz

Topps, Shaq Collaborate On New Art Card Set

Call him Diesel, call him Superman, call him Dr. Shaq – but with these Topps x Shaquille O’Neal artist cards – you can call him yours! These beautiful art trading cards are a must-have for anyone who collects Shaq – created specifically by artists Chuck Styles and Naturel for this special collaboration!

In addition to the standard cards, there are artist proofs and on-card autographs of each of the six designs.

They are available through Friday, June 24, at 1 p.m. ET, after which time no more will be printed. Fans can review and purchase at https://www.topps.com/cards-collectibles/online-brands/collaborations/topps-x-shaq.html.

Ones Basketball League Crowns L.A. Regional Champion at Pauley Pavilion, Awards $10,000 First Prize

Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA is home to more than a few basketball champions. Add one more to the historic venue’s title total as the Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its sixth and final 2022 Regional Champion in front of enthusiastic crowds on Saturday and Sunday.

A total of 32 national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was George Beamon (Roslyn, N.Y.), Marcus Hall (Denver) and Randy Gill (Los Angeles) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with close contests. The trio now qualify along with the other OBL Regional winners for the first-ever OBL Finals in Las Vegas next month.

Beamon came into the day as the No. 8 seed, needing to win four games including the 8 vs. 9 play-in to win the title and the $10,000 first prize that accompanied the championship. After edging Austin Armstead (Los Angeles) in the play-in and then dispatching No. 1 seed Jalil Abdul-Bassit (Las Vegas) and fifth-seeded Chris “Everybody Hates Chris” Staples (Woodland Hills, Calif.), the Manhattan College product won the championship by taking out the sixth-seeded Hall, 10-4, burying a two-pointer to secure the win in which his five straight points after trailing 1-0 put the New Yorker ahead to stay.

“I’m just blessed with the opportunity, and so humbled to be able to showcase my talent,” said Beamon, who came in from New York to compete in the OBL Los Angeles Regional when scheduling conflicts kept from participating in the New York Regional held in Brooklyn last month. “Cali love always and shout out to my family back home in New York who always has my back.”

Hall, a University of Colorado graduate who now splits his time between homes in his native Houston and Denver, seeded sixth entering Sunday’s play, advanced to the OBL Finals with wins over No. 3 Julius Bilbrew (Inglewood, Calif.) and a thrilling 9-7 win over Gill in the semifinals.

In the third place game for the final Las Vegas spot, 44-year-old Randy “White Chocolate” Gill, originally a Laurel, Md., native who played his collegiate ball near home at Bowie State, outlasted Staples, 9-6. Gill, who won MTV’s “Who’s Got Game” reality competition in 2003, showed superior jump shooting skill and guile in advancing to Las Vegas.

“Pauley Pavilion is a storied and classic basketball venue and we are excited and honored to have showcased our amazing OBL players in such a historic location,” said McGrady. “The competition rose to championship level with incredible games all weekend.”

The Los Angeles Regional follows successful events in Houston (April 30-May 1), Atlanta (May 7-8), Chicago (May 21-22), New York (May 28-29) and the DMV (June 4-5). Now that first-ever OBL Regional competition is complete, OBL will soon announce the field for next month’s two-day OBL Finals in Las Vegas (dates and venue TBA). The winner of each of the six Regionals earned a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will also include four “Commissioner’s Choice” wild cards for a 22-player field competing for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions. Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram.

Ones Basketball League Crowns DMV Regional Champion and Awards $10,000 First Prize

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its fifth Regional Champion at The St. James on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 30 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Kevin Kuteyi (Lanham, Md.), Andrew Washington (Washington, D.C.) and Donte Wright (Jackson, S.C.) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with close contests and spirited play across the board.

Kuteyi, who came into Sunday’s play as the No. 8 seed, had to win a Play-In over Damier Pitts (Charlotte, N.C.) to advance to the quarterfinals. He then dispatched top seeded Terry Hosley (Baltimore) and upended Antonio Carter (Alexandria, Va.) with a flurry of two-pointers, 9-3, to advance to the Finals, where his hot hand from long distance erased an early 4-1 deficit to second-seeded Washington, winning going away 9-5. In the third-place contest, Wright buried two straight two-pointers to break a 6-6 tie and top Carter, 10-6. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).

“This world-class facility and superior level of play made the OBL DMV Regional one of our best events to date,” said McGrady. “It was great to see the guys hit so many big shots and feel the crowd’s energy and support.”

Kuteyi, who played at Chowan Univ., nicknamed “Uncle Skoob,” had one of the more vocal rooting sections at The St. James and he showed a ton of personality interacting with the crowd throughout Sunday’s play.

“I wanted to tire him out a little then turn it on,” said Kuteyi of his Championship-winning matchup with Washington. “He got the early lead on me, but I knew I could come back. I appreciate T-Mac and everyone here for the opportunity.”

Washington, also known as “Sponge Bob,” and whose quarterfinal match against Scotty Hendricks went into overtime before a hard-fought semifinal win over Wright propelled him into the final, appeared winded for parts of his matches but fought through it and promises to be ready for Las Vegas.

“I ain’t done yet,” Washington said following the final. “You’re going to see me in better shape and ready to go in Vegas.”

After a successful debut event in Houston (April 30-May 1) and follow-ups in Atlanta (May 7-8), Chicago (May 21-22), New York (May 28-29) and the DMV, OBL’s next regional event is Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19, concluding the regular season in Los Angeles (site TBA).

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the OBL Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region plus three wild cards) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram.

Ones Basketball League Crowns New York Regional Champion and Awards $10,000 First Prize

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its fourth Regional Champion at Major R. Owens Community Center in Brooklyn on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 28 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Isaiah Brown (Queens), Zach Radz (Troy, N.Y.) and Darien Davis (Coram, N.Y.) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with close contests and spirited play across the board.

The sharpshooting lefty Brown, seeded at #2 after a perfect 7-0 qualifying round on Saturday, defeated Radz, 9-5, in the final game to claim the winner-take-all prize of $10,000. Davis, from Dowling College (Long Island), took out Joe Nickerson, also by a 9-5 count, to grab third place. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).

“New York came to play this weekend for sure,” said McGrady. “We had our biggest and loudest crowd so far in Brooklyn, and the level of play continues to be high as we get closer to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas.”

Brown, 25, played at SUNY Potsdam. He’s a basketball content creator and a proud girl dad. He has the nickname “Leaky Roof” because one uses buckets to fix them.

“My whole family came out to see me play, I can’t describe the feeling,” said Brown. “One on one basketball, for us, this is our style of basketball. I didn’t have a specific strategy going in, but the shots were there so I took them and fortunately hit them.”

Radz, who came down from the Albany are but stayed with a friend in New York during the competition, made a strong run from the #8 seeded position, needing to defeat the #9 seed Josh Treadwell (Newark, N.J.) in the “out bracket” game before two other wins propelled him into the Finals, including a two-pointer with time running down for a 9-8 upset win over previously unbeaten #1 seed Eugene Lawrence (Brooklyn).

“The last eight people down here, I knew they were tough competitors, obviously, anybody that makes it to this point,” said Radz, 25, who played at Sacred Heart University. “It was a matter of just putting it all out there and playing with all your heart.”

After a successful debut event in Houston (April 30-May 1) and follow-ups in Atlanta (May 7-8), Chicago (May 21-22) and New York, OBL’s next regional event is Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5, in the DMV (The St. James, Springfield, VA). The regular season concludes in Los Angeles (site TBD).

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the OBL Finals, which will see 18 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

Ones Basketball League Announces Content Partnership with SHOWTIME Sports

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — an elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – today announced a content partnership with SHOWTIME Sports, the newest media distribution relationship for the start-up league.

Under its highly successful SHOWTIME® Basketball brand, SHOWTIME Sports will distribute a behind-the-scenes, all-access documentary feature for its YouTube channel capturing the story of this season through the eyes of Tracy McGrady. SHOWTIME Sports will also produce short-form digital content for distribution across its social networks from the remainder of the inaugural OBL season through the league’s Las Vegas Championship in July.

“The production and creative team at SHOWTIME Sports knows how to build and tell stories like no one else, and the detailed background and exciting drama we have already started to capture with OBL makes this content partnership a perfect fit for us,” McGrady said. “The team at SHOWTIME shares our excitement for putting a spotlight on one-on-one basketball and all of the great action, rich stories, and hyper-competition that flows from the game.”

“We believe in Tracy’s vision and are thrilled to be working with the OBL on their inaugural season,” said Brian Dailey, SVP, Sports Programming & Content, Showtime Networks Inc. “This collaboration embodies the SHOWTIME Basketball brand — premium, bold and boundary-pushing. We are delighted to welcome Tracy and the OBL team to our unmatched lineup of content and talent.”

“The early results of our proof-of-concept season look good, we love what we see on the court, and so does SHOWTIME,” said Jeffrey Pollack, OBL strategic advisor. “This content partnership with SHOWTIME Sports came together quickly and further validates Tracy’s vision for shining a bright light on the essence of basketball and celebrating the vibrant talent and culture that fuels the one-on-one community.”

SHOWTIME Sports joins SLAM Media, Playmaker and Heart and Hustle Productions’ as initial production and content partners for OBL.

Six cities across the United States are hosting a two-day, regional, 32-player round-robin knockout tournament with athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons). The participants come from a combination of open-sourced video submissions and the advice of basketball insiders. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under the radar of most basketball fans. The inaugural events this year will feature only men, and women will be welcomed as equal participants as soon as 2023.

The regional tournaments scheduled for the rest of the OBL season are:
· New York City, May 28-29
(Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
· The DMV, June 4-5
(The St. James, Springfield, VA)
· Los Angeles, June 18-19
(TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.” The regional winners from the first three events include: Glen Rice Jr. (Marietta, Ga.), Antonio Hester (Miami), and Tiras Wade (Tampa) from the Atlanta regional; John Jordan (Houston), Matt Kiatipis (Austin by way of Canada and Simon Fraser University), and Myron Taylor (Killeen, Tex.) from the Houston regional; and Mario Smith (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Yoshi Craig (Chicago), and Grant Anderson (Chicago), who took the top three places this past weekend in the Chicago regional.

More information about Ones Basketball League at: https://www.oblhoops.com/.

OBL Crowns Chicago Regional Champion at Hope Academy Athletic Center and Awards $10,000 First Prize

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its third Regional Champion at Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Mario Smith (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Yoshi Craig (Chicago) and Grant Anderson (Chicago) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.

Smith, the OBL (@oblhoops) Chicago Regional Champion and recipient of the $10,000 prize, was seeded fourth after a 6-1 record on Saturday. He won the Championship match, 9-8, over Craig, making two free throws to ice the win. Anderson’s buzzer-beater over Armani Chaney earned the former Cornell (Ind.) College and Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.) high school standout third place. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).

“The Chicago event was another strong step forward for us and further proof that OBL will help these athletes get known and noticed,” said McGrady. “The energy on the court was intense and the fans made themselves part of the show. Chicago brought the love for OBL and we are grateful.”

Smith, 30, the only non-local player at the OBL Chicago Regional, competed at Glen Oaks CC in Michigan, and his pro career has included stints in Mexico and the Mid-Michigan Spartans. He now trains basketball players of all ages.

“I drove back and forth last night once I knew I’d make it through,” said Smith, who traveled 2.5 hours each way, both days, to participate. “The level of competition was really strong and it was a grind but it’s very gratifying to advance.”

Craig, 28, played at Iowa Central and Kennedy-King College.

“It’s great to make it to Las Vegas,” said Craig. “I was disappointed to lose on free throws, but the two days showed that this is a concept that will work and can grow. I’m looking forward to repping Chicago in July.”

After a successful debut event in Houston (April 30-May 1) and follow-ups in Atlanta (May 7-8) and Chicago, OBL’s next regional event is Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29 at the Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, New York.

Following New York, the remainder of the regional schedule is as follows:
• The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
• Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 18 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

Ones Basketball League Crowns Atlanta Regional Champion at CORE4 in Chamblee; Awards $10,000 Prize

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – crowned its second Regional Champion at CORE4 in Chamblee, Georgia, on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Glen Rice Jr. (Marietta, Ga.), Antonio Hester (Miami) and Tiras Wade (Tampa) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.

Rice, the OBL (@oblhoops) Atlanta Regional Champion and recipient of the $10,000 prize, seeded fifth after a 6-1 record on Saturday despite an injured lower leg, won the Championship match, 9-7, over Hester, who had qualified as the #2 seed after going a perfect 7-0 in pool play. Wade, the #1 seed who was also unbeaten at 7-0 on Saturday, bested Atlanta’s Phil Taylor in the third-place game. At 40, Wade was the oldest competitor in the field. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBA).

“This league is giving players an opportunity to show what they can do, and these three guys took advantage with great play all weekend,” said McGrady. “We are proud that they will be representing the Atlanta region in Las Vegas.”

“It was fun competing with this group of guys, playing a game that we love and seeing who was the best at it,” said Rice, 31, who starred collegiately at Georgia Tech. “I don’t know where everybody came from, but the competition level was great both days. It was better than I expected.”

Tracy McGrady and Dikembe Mutombo

“It was love, man. I enjoyed this weekend and it was such a blessing to be here,” added the powerful Hester, 31, who played at Miami Dade and the University of Mobile and has competed professionally overseas for more than a decade. “Getting to compete with all these pros, it was definitely another level.”

In last week’s inaugural event in Houston, John Jordan, 29, of Houston was the champion. Jordan and H-Town Regional runner-up Matt Kiatipis were both on hand in Atlanta to take in the action. OBL’s next regional event is May 21-22 at Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center.

Following Chicago, the remainder of the regional schedule is as follows:
• New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
• The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
• The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
• Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

OBL media partners include SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions. Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

Ones Basketball League Crowns First-Ever Regional Champion at Dub Sports Zone in Houston

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – got off to a rousing start with its debut event at The Dub Sports Zone in Richmond, Texas, on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Texas residents who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.

The OBL Houston Regional champion, and recipient of the $10,000 prize, is John Jordan, 29, of Houston. Jordan, the second seed, defeated runner-up Matt Kiatipis, 21, of Austin (by way of Canada and Simon Fraser University), 9-5, in the finals. Taking third was Myron Taylor, 29, of Killeen. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBD).

McGrady couldn’t have been happier with the league’s first action.

“The first weekend in Houston was what we expected when we envisioned OBL,” said the seven-time NBA All-Star. “The level and quality of play was outstanding, the facility was first rate, the production was world-class, and we have our first qualifiers for the road to Las Vegas.

“Now it’s on to Atlanta for Week Two,” he added.

John Jordan

“It’s Championship Sunday, this is where champions are made,” said Jordan, who played collegiately at TAMU-Corpus Christi. “I took a tough ‘L’ yesterday and I bounced back, because that’s what champions do.”

Jordan, who arrived back in the U.S. from overseas in Romania just in time to compete in the inaugural OBL event, was also effusive in his praise of the league.

“This is a really big-time league,” he added. “This is the first time they’ve had this league. I know from here on it’s gonna be tougher. Everyone sees (OBL) is real. The money is real. I’m just happy I won the first year.”

Kiatipis, one of the youngest competitors in the field, is also excited about qualifying for the OBL Finals.

“I’m excited to be going to Las Vegas,” said the sixth seed who started slowly but finished strong to earn the spot. “I expected to be going and it’s going to be a big show out there.”

Taylor, the eighth seed, rallied to beat Jamal North in the third-place game.

OBL’s next regional event is this coming week in Atlanta on May 7-8 at CORE4 Atlanta, in Chamblee, Georgia.

The rest of the regional schedule is as follows:

  • Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)
  • New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
  • The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
  • The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
  • Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

Media partners include SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

Ones Basketball League Starts to Score with Media Partners

Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that will celebrate the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — today announced its initial roster of storytelling and media partners. SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions will all help OBL capture and distribute short-form digital content during this inaugural and proof-of-concept season.

“Our initial focus is on short form digital storytelling to capture the journey of our competitors and we know SLAM, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle are a winning combination to help us shine a bright light on the essence of basketball and exciting young stars headed our way,” said Lisle Bowen, OBL’s Creative Director. “SLAM is the definitive voice of basketball culture, Playmaker has an elite influencer network that will amplify OBL’s reach, and Heart and Hustle Productions’ extraordinary production team will capture all of the rich stories we find on and off the court.”

The three partners each bring a unique expertise to OBL this season:

SLAM Media will co-produce OBL digital content in and around every event this season, build the OBL storytelling platform week-to-week, and drive engagement with its ardent basketball and pop culture audience of more than 16 million.

Playmaker will amplify OBL’s content and brand. expand the league’s social media presence, and integrate Playmaker social media talent into the OBL experience, and expose OBL to an audience in excess of 12 million at launch.

Heart and Hustle Productions’ world-class production team will capture every moment of the inaugural OBL season, produce compelling stories from on and off the court, and ensure the league is well positioned to engage with its growing audience on the platforms and media that matter most.

“What Tracy has created with the OBL is exactly what basketball needs: innovation, fun, and pure competition,” said Les Green, SLAM CEO. “It’s right in line with what we want to provide to our SLAM audience and coming from T-Mac, a living legend and multiple SLAM Cover athlete, makes the partnership even sweeter.”

“OBL is one of the most exciting leagues to come out in a long time. It’s one of those ideas that’s so obviously great that you have no clue why it hasn’t been done,” said Brandon Harris Founder and CEO Playmaker. “At Playmaker, we are obsessed with creating fast paced, high action short form content. OBL could not be more aligned with our brand and content strategy and we couldn’t be more excited to be on this ride as partners from the very start with Tracy McGrady, as well as Lisle Bowen & the amazing OBL team.”

“T-Mac’s idea to create The Ones Basketball League is a revolutionary idea and one that will bring the culture of basketball full circle,” said Rashad Floyd, Founder and Executive Director, Heart and Hustle Productions. “There’s no question how deeply rooted the 1 v 1 competition is to the hoop game and now with OBL, the world gets to witness these matchups on a professional level.”

Beginning this weekend, seven cities across the United States will host a two-day, regional, 32-player round-robin knockout tournament with athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons). The participants will come from a combination of open-sourced video submissions and the advice of basketball insiders. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under the radar of most basketball fans. The inaugural events this year will feature only men, and women will be welcomed as equal participants as soon as 2023.

The regional tournament schedule for the first season of the OBL season is:

Houston, April 30-May 1 (The Dub Sports Zone, Richmond, TX)

Atlanta, May 7-8 (CORE4 Atlanta, Chamblee, GA)

Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)

New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)

The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)

The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)

Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.

NABC, WBCA Back New Coach-Powered Media Company

Inspired by coaches from college basketball and beyond, an influential team of participants has announced the launch of and investment in Coaches+, a new media company that will develop and produce premium content and intellectual property while partnering with the widest range of distribution platforms to engage audiences globally.

Coaches+ is backed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), organizations that combined represent more than 8,000 coaches across all levels of college, scholastic and youth basketball. The NABC and WBCA share an associated audience footprint of more than 190 million college alumni and more than a billion fans and followers on social media.

Coaches+ content initiatives currently in development include premium TV programming and podcasts, live games and events, philanthropic projects, education and instructional curricula, media collectibles and a “Coaches Creator” program to provide new opportunities and resources to coaches at every level.

NABC Executive Director Craig Robinson laid out the vision for Coaches+ to the organization’s membership at the NABC Convention, being held in New Orleans alongside the Men’s Final Four.

“The NABC is thrilled to take part in the launch of Coaches+, and we’re confident that this new initiative will create tangible benefits for our members from all levels of the sport,” Robinson said. “The ability of Coaches+ to develop and produce high-quality content will amplify our coaches’ unique stories and the NABC’s core values of leadership, education, inclusion, service and advocacy.”

As part of announcements at their respective organizations’ annual conventions, Robinson and WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew introduced a new Coaches+ funding round, backed by investments from the NABC, the WBCA and a group of individual investors.

“The impact and influence of coaches has never been more evident or important,” Donehew said. “Our investment and enthusiastic participation in Coaches+ is about our commitment to create new opportunities for our coaches and WBCA members in the always-evolving media ecosystem.”

Coaches+ was incubated in partnership with and additional investment from TeamWorks Media, a content studio based in Chicago that has developed and produced a wide range of award-winning sports programming, media properties and “in real life” content experiences.

“The best content has always been a mix of accessibility, authenticity and authority, which also happens to be qualities shared by the best coaches,” TeamWorks Media co-founder and CEO Jay Sharman said. “Coaches+ is a unique opportunity to create the highest level of programming that engages the widest range of passionate audiences through powerful, meaningful stories.”

For the remainder of 2022 and into 2023, Coaches+ will be accelerated out of TeamWorks Media’s studio in downtown Chicago, ahead of the selection of a location for a permanent Coaches+ studio and event space.

For more information, visit coachesplus.com or follow the company on social media (@coachesplus).

Ones Basketball Association Unveils Schedule and Venues for First Season of One-on-One Basketball

Seven-time NBA All-Star, Basketball Hall-of-Famer, and entrepreneur Tracy McGrady today unveiled the regional schedule and venues for the launch of the Ones Basketball Association, a first-ever elite competition that will celebrate the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet.

The first year of regional competition will take place in seven cities across the United States, beginning the weekend of April 30th in Houston and concluding in June. The 2022 Finals for the Ones Basketball Association will take place in July.

McGrady has also announced that media and sports industry veteran Jeffrey Pollack has signed on as a strategic advisor to help lead business planning and operations and create best-in-class events and experiences.

“Our goal this year is to test and preview how we should best spotlight and celebrate the competition, raw athletic talent, and extraordinary skills of these young rising stars,” McGrady said. “We are proud to partner with Jeffrey Pollack, who will help us develop our game plan on and off the court. His input is already invaluable to me, as we take our first steps as a startup league and set the foundation for a global basketball property that will create more opportunities for athletes and fans and tell new basketball stories.”

“In many ways this is the first-ever pop-up sports league,” said Pollack. “We are moving fast, tipping off quickly, and excited to publicly share our proof-of-concept with the basketball community and sports industry. Early feedback will be vital to our planning efforts, and we are ready to test, listen, and learn throughout this first season. Players, fans, and partners will have a rare opportunity to co-create the Ones Basketball Association with Tracy and our team, and it’s exciting to help launch a new celebration of basketball excellence.”

Elissa Grabow, McGrady’s long-time business manager, has also joined the leadership team to help turn McGrady’s vision into reality. “Working for Tracy McGrady for the past 25 years has been the ride of a lifetime and this journey is a true labor of love,” said Grabow. “Tracy is inspired and focused and it all comes from the purest place: his heart. It is an honor to be on this team and help develop the Ones Basketball Association into something special that we believe will build community, provide hope and opportunity, and create a new way to fall in love with the game of basketball.”

Beginning in April, seven cities across the United States will host a two-day, regional, 32-player round-robin knockout tournament with athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons). The participants will come from a combination of open-sourced video submissions and the advice of basketball insiders. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under the radar of most basketball fans. The inaugural events this year will feature only men, and women will be welcomed as equal participants as soon as 2023.

The regional tournament schedule for the first season of the Ones Basketball Association season is:
· Houston, April 30-May 1 (The Dub Sports Zone, Richmond, TX)
· Atlanta, May 7-8 (CORE4 Atlanta, Chamblee, GA)
· Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)
· New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
· The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
· The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
· Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)

The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.”

Venues this first year will have very limited public seating, in order to keep the current focus on the athletes, their stories, and the competitive format.
Jeffrey Pollack is a sports business executive and Emmy-Award winner with more than 25 years of leadership experience driving catalytic change, growth, and innovation for family-owned, private-equity-backed, and corporate-based ventures. He was most recently President and CEO of the XFL.

Pollack has been lauded for helping businesses and brands rethink, recalibrate, and evolve, and he has held both executive and advisory roles with the NBA, NASCAR, World Series of Poker, Professional Bull Riders, and Los Angeles Chargers. Pollack is founder of The Sports Business Daily, the original daily trade publication for the sports industry.

The field for each regional tournament, along with content and media partners, elite player ambassadors, and details about the 2022 Finals, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Follow Ones Basketball Association at https://www.obahoops.com/.

New York Mobile Handle Could Reach $400 Million For First NCAA Tournament

ew York already has hit the heights since launching mobile sports wagering in mid-January. Now the Empire State will make its first descent into madness.
March Madness, that is.

When the New York State Gaming Commission releases its full February figures, the state’s two monthly handles of 2022 will rank first (January) and second (February) in the all-time national post-PASPA era that began in 2018. Not everyone anticipated such a fast start, with many expecting New York to need time to mature before reaching the top of the list and becoming, in the words of Frank Sinatra, “A-number one.”

The Super Bowl, which is the largest single sports betting event in the U.S., has come and gone, and conventional wisdom suggests New York generated the highest handle of any state — but nobody knows for sure, since the NYSGC did not provide official handle and revenue figures from the game. March brings the NCAA Tournament, joining the Super Bowl in the top two of annual betting events and unmatched in terms of drama coming from all angles at a frenetic pace over the course of three-plus weeks.
The largest unofficial betting event in the form of office pools now takes center stage in legal fashion in New York. Eight mobile operators, entrenched to varying degrees, will offer Final Four futures wagers and more, plus various betting lines on up to 66 of the tournament’s 67 games.

After bettors showed a monstrous appetite for the Super Bowl, wagering will again be robust throughout the final two weekends of March and the first one in April. After examining weekly mobile handle figures in New York since launch, basketball-specific wagering across multiple states from 2019 through 2021, and other assorted factors as points of comparison, NY Online Gambling projects mobile betting handle in the Empire State on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will be between $375 million and $400 million.

That’s wagers to be placed at legal online sportsbooks in New York after the NCAA announced the seeds and brackets on Sunday. Using the industry standard win rate of 7%, mobile operator revenue from that handle would range from $26.3 million to $28 million. With New York’s 51% tax rate on mobile revenue, the state would receive between $13.4 million and $14.3 million.

The NCAA Tournament vs. The Super Bowl
Projecting the Empire State’s NCAA Tournament handle can be challenging. New York has generated weekly handle that would rank in the top 10 nationally for monthly handle every full week since launch. The nearly $360 million in handle for the week ending March 6 was the fourth week in five that New York has posted handle between $350 million and $360 million.

The outlier in that stretch was Super Bowl week, in which handle totaled $472.1 million. The NYSGC does not break out handle by sport or divulge any specific wagering information about the game, but the Super Bowl handle may have been at least $200 million. That is a reasonable, conservative estimate, given Nevada set an all-time high with nearly $180 million wagered on the game and New Jersey went from $117.4 million in 2021 to $143.7 million this year despite all those Manhattanites no longer needing to cross the Hudson River to place legal bets.

Is the Super Bowl relevant for March Madness comparisons? Yes and no. One can view the NCAA Tournament as a singular event, but it also consists of 67 single-game events. A more like-for-like comparison could be the NCAA Tournament and the NFL playoffs, in which 13 games are played.

The NYSGC launched on the weekend of Week 18 of the NFL regular season, producing an initial handle report of $171.3 million that covered only those two days. The six wild card round games the next week contributed to handle skyrocketing to $431.8 million in the first full week of wagering. The four divisional round games sparked another bump to $572.6 million.  Notably, the Buffalo Bills played in both rounds.

Weekly handle ebbed the week of the two conference title games, falling to $449 million without the Bills, but that was still 28.3% higher than the recent low-end baseline of $350 million per week.

Assumptions of a similar percentage spike for March Madness could prove faulty for a few reasons, most notably advertising. The NFL has inherent advantages over the NCAA, with nearly all of its postseason games airing on network television. The league is also a marketing leviathan capable of making any superstar a national hero, recognized from the city where he plays to the casual fan hundreds of miles away who simply enjoys football.

This past NFL season, sportsbooks spent gobs of money to advertise their product, with the ability to promote themselves as “official league partners” or “approved sportsbook operators.” Of the eight mobile operators in New York, three (Caesars, DraftKings, and FanDuel) are official league partners and three others (BetMGM, PointsBet, and WynnBET) are approved sportsbook operators.

That advertising spend will not take place during the college basketball games broadcast on CBS and other stations. For starters, the NCAA does not have partnerships with gaming operators, and very few schools do.

cover image: credit Flickr/Steve Cheng, Bruin Report

Orlando Magic Fans Revel In Double Dose Of 360 Hoops At Home Game Against Chicago

In one of its most public in-person displays of its patented three-on-three version of basketball, 360 Hoops had the opportunity to experience the game before and during the team’s contest against Chicago on Sunday, January 23.

From 4-6 p.m., kids and adults at the 360 Hoops station at the Orlando Magic Fan Fest at Church Street directly outside of the Amway Center shot a few hoops and got a quick tutorial on the game, which features a patented circular court and three connected baskets and backboards attached to one pole. Then during halftime, players from Blessed Trinity and Team Dynasty took their best shot in drills and games on the Magic’s home floor, cheered on wildly by the nearly 19,000 fans in attendance.

“We are appreciative that the Orlando Magic believe enough in our unique take on the game of basketball to allow us this amazing opportunity to give fans a first-hand look at how we are changing the shape of the game,” said Archie McEachern, 360 Hoops CEO. “After getting a few reps on our three-basket set up pre-game, fans got the chance to see how our exciting game is played on a competitive level, and they responded!”

The 360 Hoops station featured coaches and other organization reps talking about the game and giving some quick instruction on its rules and how to best utilize the three goals.

360 Hoops, the brainchild of coach Shane Brey and fellow co-founder Anthony Gomez, is an exciting, inclusive addition to the shape of basketball at all levels, incorporating a three-on-three, three-basket game played on a circular court. Teams compete on the circular court, which features a proprietary single stanchion with three regulation baskets facing away in each direction. Players can score for their teams in any of the three baskets.

Data Driven Sports/ShotTracker to Provide Data and Advanced Analytics for Big 12 Basketball

Data Driven Sports (DDSports), the parent company of ShotTracker, today announced they have entered into an agreement with ESPN to provide data and analytics for Big 12 Conference basketball games. The multi-year deal gives ESPN the opportunity to integrate ShotTracker data throughout its linear and digital properties to drive fan engagement, enhanced storytelling and broadcast automation. The first stage of the collaboration kicked off last Saturday afternoon with advanced graphics integrated into ESPN’s broadcast of the Kansas vs. Texas Tech men’s basketball game on ESPN2. The video can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFpMRT5C2Jw

ShotTracker is entering its second year of partnership with the Big 12 Conference, which has integrated ShotTracker’s sensor-based technology in its arenas and practice facilities for the men’s and women’s programs, as well as into basketballs and player jerseys. The output of this integration is sub-second X-Y-Z player and ball location data and over 100 real-time stats, including advanced analytics such as lineup efficiency, ball movement stats and screen types with outcomes. ESPN will now have access to the same advanced stats that Big 12 coaching staff utilize on the bench via the ShotTracker team app to optimize their lineups and play calling.

“We are thrilled to be working closely with ESPN to drive what will be unprecedented innovation in sports,” said Davyeon Ross, ShotTracker Co-Founder and President. “Our autonomous, sub-second data has the potential to impact many areas of their business, including not only personalized fan engagement but also broadcast efficiencies and increased content output.”

As part of the new ESPN Edge Innovation Center, ShotTracker is working closely with ESPN to test various new enhancements across ESPN’s fan-facing platforms.

“We are excited to use ShotTracker technology as it provides sports fans with more in-depth stats and analysis for the sports they know and love,” said Kevin Lopes, Senior Director of Content Business Development & Innovation at ESPN.

Data Driven Sports/ShotTracker Announces Automated Content Products To Drive Engagement And Revenue

Data Driven Sports (DDSports), the parent company of ShotTracker,  today unveiled an exciting suite of new products to support digital publishers and broadcasters in engaging and monetizing college basketball fans this upcoming season. Leveraging the ShotTracker’s unique, real-time player and ball tracking data, combined with automated content and analytics platforms, DDSports now offers three innovative products designed to efficiently increase sponsorable content for its clients:

  • Automated Visualizations – customizable graphics with sponsor integrations designed for easy publishing to broadcast/OTT, digital, social and in-venue signage.
  • Insights Engine – AI-powered trends and streaks to drive game storylines and data-driven sales campaigns.
  • 3D Gamecast – animated ball and player graphics powered by real-time X-Y-Z location data, designed to allow out-of-market fans to watch their team live, and for all fans to relive exciting game moments. 

The three new products will be available for all men’s and women’s games across top NCAA Division 1 conferences where ShotTracker is installed, and will include unique, data-driven brand activation capabilities. “Our goal is to provide turnkey solutions to leading sports broadcasters and digital publishers to make the integration of ShotTracker data as streamlined and seamless as feasible,” said Davyeon Ross, DDSports/ShotTracker Co-Founder and President. “We commit to innovating and creating digital products that drive new revenue while also streamlining the content production process.”

Automated Visualizations

Leveraging the robust ShotTracker Data API, and through its partnership with IMPACT, a leading automated visualization platform, ShotTracker data will come to life in dynamic graphics designed for use across broadcast/OTT, digital, social and in-venue signage. Graphics that once took hours to produce will now be automatically generated. Broadcast customers will have access to a user portal that will allow for design, data points and sponsor customizations. Product benefits include more content, lower production costs and greater advertising revenue.

Insights Engine

Realizing the increasing need to grab fans’ attention and keep them engaged, ShotTracker has partnered with Inside Edge, a leader in sports analytics, to develop a cutting-edge platform to produce instant insights from ShotTracker’s robust data set. Broadcasters and digital publishers will now have real-time access to unique streaks and trends that once took hours to manually derive. This innovative platform will not only drive engaging storylines for announcers and writers, but will also support high-value sponsor activations.

3D Gamecast

Since many fans do not have access to live game broadcasts, and because game highlight rights are often complex and limited, ShotTracker has developed a real-time visual representation of every second of game action for all ShotTracker-enabled men’s and women’s games across top NCAA Division I conferences. Fans will have the option to watch an entire game or to select key game moments. With ShotTracker’s X-Y-Z data stream, game action comes to life in a more engaging visual representation than the traditional 2D products in the marketplace. Developers can use ShotTracker’s Gamecast SDK to customize design as well as advertiser integrations.

Gonzaga Selects Fast Rising Ready as Official Sports Drink

Ready® Nutrition (@ready_nutrition), one of the fastest growing sports nutrition companies in North America, with NBA Finals Champion and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and three-time NFL Defensive MVP Aaron Donald as co-owners, today announced that Gonzaga University selected the brand as the Official Sports Drink of Bulldog Athletics.

Ready® Sport Drink will be the exclusive isotonic sports drinks for fueling and replenishing Gonzaga student-athletes with its scientific, all-natural formulation featuring three dominant electrolytes, energy from superfruits, and B-Vitamins for complete hydration.   

“We’re looking forward to this partnership with Ready® ” Incoming Gonzaga Director of Athletics Chris Standiford said. “It’s vital that we provide our student-athletes with the best sports nutrition options, and we know that Ready® will be the best choice for Gonzaga.”

Gonzaga is a member of the West Coast Conference, one of 8 conferences that have selected Ready® as their Official Sports Drink.  The Bulldogs’ national profile is highlighted by the success of its men’s and women’s basketball programs. The women have been crowned WCC champions and qualified for the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last 12 years.  The men’s program, under future Hall of Fame Coach Mark Few, has become a traditional national power.  The team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 10 years, making numerous Sweet 16 and Elite 8 appearances and playing for the National Championship in 2021.

“We’re always looking to provide our guys with the best in everything,” said Coach Few.  “We used Ready® during the tournament last year and our players loved it. It was an easy decision for us to name Ready® our Official Sports Drink.”

In addition to its sports drink, Ready® will also make available it’s full portfolio of performance products including its popular protein water, protein bars and functional snacks.  

“We’re excited to welcome Gonzaga into the Ready® family and thrilled that another elite program and coach has selected our sports drink for their student athletes”, said Ready® Founder and CEO Pat Cavanaugh, himself a former student-athlete and University of Pittsburgh basketball team captain.  “Coach Few’s program has such a high standard of excellence and I know he wants the very best for his players and all Gonzaga student-athletes.  We’re committed to helping them reach their team and individual goals with our science-based performance products.”

360 Hoops Names Longtime Nike Executive Archie McEachern As CEO

360 Hoops has announced the appointment of Archie McEachern as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. McEachern brings more than 25 years of experience in merchandising, product creation and sales on a national and global level at Nike, Inc. to the position. He joined 360 Hoops in January in an advisory capacity and officially became CEO on April 1.

McEachern most recently served as Vice President, Greater China Category Merchandising at Nike in Shanghai for the past two years after a three-year stint as Vice President, North American Marketplace Merchandising from 2015-2018. He served in a variety of other leadership roles at the Beaverton, Ore., based apparel and footwear company since arriving there in 1992.

In his newly created role at 360 Hoops, producer of the patented three-basket hoops that are revolutionizing basketball at all levels, McEachern will play an important role in areas such as product development, marketplace strategy and brand positioning.

“I have been intrigued by the 360 Hoops concept and couldn’t be more pleased to be asked to lead this team that is changing the way youths and adults experience basketball,” said McEachern, a graduate of Ithaca (N.Y.) College and two-time basketball team captain there. “The game of basketball continues to evolve and I am confident that there is a clear space for innovation like the 360 Hoops products. I’m excited to help introduce the 360 Hoops vision to new opportunities and markets.”

“Archie McEachern’s extensive experience in the sport and with the prestige of having served important roles at the global leader in Nike make him a great fit for leading us to the next stage,” said 360 Hoops co-founder Shane Brey. “We have an exciting slate of upcoming initiatives and his unique background will help us maximize those and create additional opportunities as we continue our rapid growth and help bring this amazing form of basketball to more organizations and ultimately more players across the globe.”

McEachern’s other relevant experience at Nike includes terms as Vice President, Japan Merchandising and Global Category Footwear Leader Nike Basketball, amongst others. He has also served as a board member and consultant at David Nurse, Inc., in Los Angeles and consultant for DG Sport in Los Angeles and Tokyo.
360 Hoops, the brainchild of Brey and fellow co-founder Anthony Gomez, is an exciting, inclusive addition to the shape of basketball at all levels, incorporating a three-on-three, three-basket game played on a circular court. Teams compete on the 30-foot diameter court, which features a proprietary single stanchion with three regulation baskets facing away in each direction. Players can score for their teams in any of the three baskets.

ShotTracker Secures An Additional $2m Financing From Hearst Ventures

DDSports Inc. (ShotTracker), a revolutionary sports technology that captures rich performance data via sensors and provides statistics and analytics with sub-second latency, today announced a new round of financing by Hearst Ventures, the venture capital unit of Hearst. The $2 million USD investment by Hearst Ventures is in addition to an $11 million USD investment led by Evertz Technologies Limited (Evertz) and Verizon Ventures, which was announced earlier this year and completes the current funding round for the company.

“We are proud to have brought on Hearst Ventures as our latest investment partner,” said ShotTracker Chief Executive Officer Bill Moses. “Their expertise and knowledge of the media partnerships space will be pivotal as we refine and grow not just our offering to NCAA men’s and women’s basketball programs, but to broadcast partners as well. That broadcast integration has been the most requested element for our technology and we feel will be a key for our growth in the coming years.”

“Our goal with ShotTracker from day one is to go beyond the work we do with our partner schools,” said ShotTracker Co-Founder and President Davyeon Ross. “This investment, on top of our work with Evertz and Verizon Ventures, gives us a much wider runway and a greater opportunity for scaling success of our business going forward. We will continue to focus on our platform for NCAA men’s and women’s basketball, but additional opportunities are now coming into focus that will make this partnership very important for us.”

“ShotTracker’s autonomous, low-latency data collection is giving broadcasters, fans and other sports data consumers unprecedented insights in real time,” said Hearst Ventures Managing Director David Famolari, who will also be joining ShotTracker’s board of directors. “We see this as key to innovating the viewing experience and delivering data-driven storylines and visualizations that bring fans into the action in new and compelling ways. Bill, Davyeon and the ShotTracker team are leading the industry in developing technology to make unique sports data immediately actionable across a range of use cases.”

ShotTracker currently brings elite-level, real-time analytics to the court. The company’s patented technology tracks data in three parts: a ShotTracker-enabled ball, sensors on players’ jerseys and court sensors that map the court in 3D. Data is processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm displayed on the ShotTracker app and dashboard and is also integrated with Evertz’s cloud-based live production solutions. The real-time data can be used to automate camera productions from remote locations and can be licensed by media and sports data companies and will be enhanced by all the innovation Verizon is bringing through their cutting-edge work in 5G.

NBRPA, Swoopes And Flexion Therapeutics Announce Partnership To Raise Awareness Of Zilretta

Unsplash/Marcus Spiske

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) and Flexion Therapeutics Inc. today announced a new partnership to raise awareness of osteoarthritis-related knee pain and present ZILRETTA (triamcinolone acetonide extended-release injectable suspension) as an effective treatment option. The educational program tipped off with a virtual event featuring Sheryl Swoopes, basketball Hall of Famer and ZILRETTA patient, discussing how osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee has impacted her life and how ZILRETTA has helped with pain management. Swoopes is the first athlete from the WNBA to participate in the awareness program. The partnership with Swoopes complements Flexion’s relationship with ZILRETTA Athlete Ambassadors, NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson and 1980 USA hockey team captain and gold medal winner Mike Eruzione.

“We are excited to partner with the NBRPA to raise awareness of knee OA and ZILRETTA, and we are truly honored to be working with Sheryl, a world-class athlete who continues to exemplify greatness well after the height of her career,” said Michael Clayman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Flexion. “As one of the most exceptional women athletes of all time, a hall of famer, and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Sheryl knows about pushing the limits physically, and we are very pleased that she has finally found the much-needed relief from her OA knee pain with ZILRETTA.”

Swoopes, the first player to be signed in the WNBA, is a three-time WNBA MVP and was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. She won three Olympic gold medals and is one of 10 women’s basketball players to have won an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA Championship and a WNBA title. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 and is an active leader in the NBRPA.

“The best partnerships are all about authenticity, and we found out through a survey of our membership that knee pain ranked among retired players’ top ailments following their careers,” said Scott Rochelle, NBRPA’s Executive Director. “There is no better, more engaged advocate for those suffering OA knee pain and no stronger advocate to speak to the benefits of ZILRETTA than Sheryl. We look forward to growing this relationship in the coming months to be one of our most inclusive and informative to date.”

Swoopes added, “I fully understand the way OA knee pain can impact your life in every aspect, not just physically but mentally. To be able to tell my story and share the results of what can be done with treatment with my colleagues, friends, former players and family is very important. This partnership will not only help many of the athletes who have played in the NBA and WNBA, but it will serve to raise awareness for thousands who may be suffering in silence.”

Swoopes was treated by Rabah Qadir, M.D., a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at the Woodlands Sports Medicine Center and Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at Memorial Hermann Woodlands Medical Center in the Houston area. Dr. Qadir said, “While Sheryl has enjoyed the career of an elite athlete, unfortunately, her experience with OA knee pain is far from unique. Knee injuries, especially cartilage and meniscus injuries, are common for basketball players and can lead to OA over time. After evaluating Sheryl and understanding her desire to stay active with a non-surgical treatment plan, ZILRETTA was an obvious choice to offer Sheryl the extended pain relief she needed.”

More information on how to find a treating physician can be found at https://www.getthez.com or by calling 888-600-GETZ (4389).

The NBRPA represents over 1,000 former NBA and WNBA players, making it the largest agency of its kind in basketball. This has allowed for direct access to players for opportunities to educate other members and their treating physicians.