This past Sunday, October 12th, rather than staying home and drinking Sambuca all day, we joined forces with Jimmy Whispers to host the first ever HOOP DREAMS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. The tournament (and music fest) was located at 1834 W Chicago Ave and it was created to raise funds for CeaseFire, the Illinois branch of the Cure Violence Organization, which operates in 6 cities throughout the state – Chicago, Maywood, Rockford, East St. Louis, Springfield, and North Chicago/Waukegan.
We opened the gates just after noon and the lot started filling up right away. Notable members of the community came by and sipped on beer from Revolution Brewing and enjoyed food from The Doner Men Truck and Soups in the Loop.
The first game of the day got pretty heated as local record store heavyweights Reckless Records faced off against Permanent Records. Many picked PRex to go all the way since they had home court advantage (the tourney took place at a lot just a few doors down from Permanent’s store). With the high-flying-heroics of the All-American Boi Chris Kramer (SLUSHY/THE LEMONS), their team looked in top form and they took an early lead.
Reckless wasn’t hearing it though. They kept their heads down, tightened up on D and proved the naysayers wrong. Coming out victorious, thanks in large part to the hard-nosed and wily playing of one called “Rascal” (BARE MUTANTS).
The second game featured a couple of our favorite home-town record labels, with Hozac Records squaring off against Drag City. Leading the Drag City team was triple-threat Jimmy Whispers (JIMMY WHISPERS), who helped organize the event, performed a set of his music, and balled O.C. (that’s outta control for all you noobs). Unfortunately for Drag City, Mr. Whispers was too busy to make many shots. Hozac jumped out to a large lead, led by strong efforts in the paint from James Swanberg (TODAYSHITS/THE LEMONS) and Spike Johnson (SPIKE AND THE SWEET SPOTS). With only two minutes left on the clock and down by 14 points, Drag City’s fate looked sealed. However, Brett Sova (AXIS: SOVA) wasn’t going to lie down and take it. He led his team back. With the help of a miracle buzzer beater, the teams headed to OVERTIME!
The comeback was certainly one for the books, but Hozac proved to be far too much during OT. The clock had struck midnight on Drag City’s Cinderella Story. Such a loss could have been truly heart breaking for the Drag City dudes and all the fans that had been cheering them on during their come back, but RADAR EYES was there to rock all our troubles away. We cracked open another Revolution and it was like everybody was friends and no one was ever sad… Although it must be noted that many shooty-hoopers weren’t too happy with the tournament’s volunteer ref after the second game. So much for good sportsmanship!
With the title match between Hozac and Reckless all set, Permanent and Drag City played each other in a consolation game. Permanent won, making them the 3rd place team in the first ever HOOP DREAMS CHARITY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. This game was a crowd favorite because both teams had black uniforms, which led to them inevitably going SHIRTS VS SKINS. Hell yeah – lookin’ good, fellas!
Speaking of “Hell Yeah” moments, Jimmy Whispers serenaded the crowd with his uniquely honest and painfully-raw love songs. MAGIC MILK jumped on stage to play along with him for part of the set. We can’t show you pictures because Kenny wasn’t wearing any pants. Instead check out these other pics of Kenny from the day, and imagine him in his underwear on your own time, OK!
Fine. We’ll show you one pic of Kenny in his underpants, but that’s all you get.
The title game was something truly special. Reckless started out hot, raining threes on team Hozac. The lead would not last, and following a sluggish start, Hozac started scoring in bunches. It looked like Hozac had an iron grip on the game. But then Kelly Nothinig (THE LEMONS/ANIMAL KINGDOM) started to drain 3 point shot after 3 point shot to give Reckless hope and get the crowd going NUTS! Guess they don’t call her Kelly “Nothing But Net” 420 for nothing.
In the end it was too little too late, and Hozac held off Reckless’s advances to become the winners of the first ever HOOP DREAMS CHARITY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT. Here are the people behind all of Team Hozac’s glory: Todd & Robyn.
Former Chicago Bulls player Michael Jordan was in attendance, hanging out at the scorer’s table and doing a little announcing along with Joe Jeffers and Cullen from Smith Westerns.
All agreed, that the reffing was really strong throughout the tournament, but truly the day was about community and charity.
Photos by Sam Awesum & Roman Sobus