‘The Tournament’ draws in basketball players from across country

News

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — If you’ve never heard of ‘The Tournament,’ you’re not alone.

“I was confused. What is this? Send me the link, I’ll check it out,” said Steve Young when he was first told about the glorified pick-up tournament.

The Basketball Tournament is in just its second year. Last year, it was a 32-team field. This year, 97 teams are taking part, but the format is still the same: No entry fee for a single elimination tournament with college rules, winner-take-all. All of $1million.

“I saw the grand prize. I was like, ‘how much is it?’” Young exclaimed. “I was like, ‘sign me up.’”

“That’s a game changer, man. That’s a game changer,” added teammate Cory Dickson.

Young and Dickson met while playing pickup basketball at the Texas State rec center.

Dickson played a year of basketball at the junior college level, and in high school. Young was more of a track star. Now they are playing on a team led by Marshall Henderson, the former Ole Miss guard known just as much for his antics as for his ability to shoot.

“He said just be ready for some serious basketball,” said Young. “It’s gonna be pretty intense.”

Far more intense than the rec leagues and pick-up games they’ve grown used to.

“Man…I’m ready,” said Dickson. “I’ve been really ready to play some good competition again. Me and my friends, we play in recreational summer leagues, but that’s not anything competition-wise.”

The Tournament is filled with former NBA players, college players and gym rats.

“I played in men’s league all over, but I feel like this is gonna be the big difference of the level of skill,” Young added. “Playing at the rec, it’s just run and gun, hopefully you make the shot.”

For guys like Dickson and Youong, The Tournament is a chance to not only return to the world of competitive basketball, but also to see how their skills measure up against former NBA players.

“I was telling my friends that if I guard Nate Robinson, I don’t know,” said Young. “I’m gonna be watching him play instead of actually trying to stop him. But it’s gonna be really exciting.”

“I might try to get in their heads, really,” Dickson added. “I mean, I’m gonna be like, dang, I’m playing against Nate Robinson if we play against them. I’ll be trying to get in their head as much as I can. You can’t really be scared of them. You gotta be ready to play against them. It’s gonna be so much fun. I am super ecstatic to say, the least. I’m super excited.”

Playing against NBA talent with a $1 million on the line, it’s a rec-league all-star’s dream.

The Tournament starts Friday at four regional sites, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. The finals will be played August 2 in New York City and be broadcast on ESPN.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Top Stories

More Top Stories

Tracking the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases Tracker

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

Trending Stories

Don't Miss