Summers are one of the seasons that I look forward to every year, this is because of the opportunities that I create for myself through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. In the midst of my summers I often tend to spread my wings by getting outside my comfort zone (Toronto), to participate in the top summer Pro-Am’s. Every summer the top college/pro hoopers as well as NBA stars grace the courts to compete at a high level; with the emergence of social media a lot of buzz has been created around the summer hoop scene. Pro-Am leagues such as: The Drew League, Nike Dyckman Basketball, Chi-league, & The Crown League have created a unique platform for hoopers across any level to compete and unify the basketball community. I've been blessed over the years to compete in the top pro-ams. Now I will give some insight and talk about my experiences at these prominent pro-am leagues.
1. Drew League "No Excuse. Just Produce."
The Drew has been publicly acknowledged as the #1 pro-am in the world. Established in 1973, Alvin Wills brought his vision to life starting the league out with 6 teams, now in it's 45 year the Drew has 26 teams and over 300 hoopers that compete. The Drew always seems to deliver their expectations and entertainment for the league. NBA Perennial stars such as: James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, and Nick Young look forward to the Drew every summer as they put on a show for their hometown. Being from Canada I've never witnessed a league of this magnitude, so It was an honour to be apart of the history at the Drew this season. Every hooper should experience playing at the Drew one time in his/her career.
2. Dyckman Basketball "All roads lead to Dyckman"
All roads in life tend to lead towards different destinations, this destination happens to be in a special environment that is filled with a rich basketball culture that goes back in history. NYC has been known as the “Mecca of basketball.” Every summer hoopers across the 5 boroughs: (Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, & Staten Island) grace the blacktops with their presence in hopes to compete for national supremacy and bragging Rights. Over the past summer’s Dyckman has created an authentic buzz that has captured the attention of the top NBA Stars and pros. The Dyckman Basketball tournament aka “ The Red Carpet of Street ball” has provided the Washington Heights community with high-level entertainment that engages the NYC basketball community, a large reason is because you never know who might show up to Dyckman. D’Angelo Russell, Kyle Anderson, Lance Stephenson, Chris McCullough, Terry Rozier, and Isaiah Whitehead all participated in the Dyckman Basketball tournament. Mark this day in your calendars.... August 4th...Jelly Day!
Nike Crown League "Claim Royalty"
The Crown League has been cemented as Toronto's premier pro-am; with the expansion of Canadian hoops the Crown League has leveraged their opportunity as well as the influx of top tier college/pro hoopers. In it's 4th year The Crown looks to add more of an exclusive look for the city of Toronto, Hopefully more NBA stars will participate this season. Kelly Olynk, Joel Anthony, Delon Wright, and Norman Powell, and Pascal Siakam are some familiar faces that competed at the Nike Crown League.
4. OVO Hoopfest
The Annual OVO Hoopfest takes place during the most highly anticipated week of the summer. The tournament is a week long, in which the top pros compete in quest of a championship banner. Last Year, Detroit Piston Guard Stanley Johnson stole the show dropping a tournament high 86 points vs. CIA Bounce. Team 1Love T.O. ended up capturing their 2nd OVO championship title. NBA players such as: Brandon Jennings, Frank Kaminsky, Dwight Powell, and Stanley Johnson participated in last year's tournament. Who will be crowned the 2018 OVO Hoop Fest champs ?
The Game of basketball has become universal and many cities are producing top tier players. Many have witnessed the development of summer pro-am leagues and I find it great to able to participate in different pro-ams and see what is unique about each specific one. If you like the "NYC Grit" then Dyckman is definitely for you, If your a fan of the up-tempo playing style then, The Drew is calling your name, and if you are about making a name for yourself then the Nike Crown league is where to go. Let's continue to step outside the box and explore the playing field across the boarder. Summertime is here... are you ready?
Thanks: @nikenyc, @niketoronto, @nikela
Pro-Am's: @drewleague, @dyckmanbasketball, @ovobounce
Photo by: Nia Simone (@l0verebel) , @niketoronto, @j.holder.photo, @rhyancorria, Mariam Konate (@candidbymk)