On the last full day of SXSW’s music festival, Hard Knock TV and The Smoking Section once again partnered up to throw what is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite event of the week…the annual HoopXHang 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. With a rounded out mix of artists, media, and tastemakers, this year’s event proved to be the biggest and best thus far, complete with a comeback finish that came down to the wire.
For those that aren’t familiar, here’s the run down: 16 teams. Single elimination. Win or become a spectator. There are no consolation prizes or moral victories for those that don’t advance…just a straight up game of 3-on-3, where 2’s and 3’s are allowed and the refs aren’t quick to blow the whistle. This year’s squads were made up of several returning players such as Problem, Ro Spit, DJ Trackstar, Hustle Simmons, King Vada, PUSH!, Richie Abbott, and others, while there was some new heads in the building that came to show and prove like Dizzy Wright, Drumma Boy, Killa Kyleon, Z-Ro, Clyde Carson, and most notably, hip-hops new polarizing presence, Trinidad Jame$.
Though the *defending champs from 2012 were notably missing from this year’s competition, the event was no doubt just as intense as teams battled for bragging rights and the chance to call themselves “champions” in 2013.
*Note: In all fairness, Team Hard Knock was a no show due to Nick Huff answering a last minute call to interview 50 Cent for SXSW’s Keynote interview series, and DJ Hyphen skipped the trip altogether due to injury. This writer was assured that they would be back next year, so no need to worry…
There were several notable games, with most teams competing quite well in an attempt to advance to the next round. The West was represented by Problem and his squad, which featured the likes of Clyde Carson, Drumma Boy, and Damani (the latter who had to bow out early to a dislocated finger), Houston’s own Killa Kyleon and his team that eventually became the hometown favorite, and the surprising “Gold Gang” out of Atlanta, consisting of Trinidad Jame$ and crew.
As the sixteen teams dwindled to eight, four, and then finally two, the battle of attrition lead to a final game between Trinidad’s “Gold Gang”, and Killa’s team, “#RunIt”. Fans left the stands and surrounded the court to catch the final match up, and what looked like a game that would end up in a rout, eventually became competitive and downright exciting to the very end. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say there that the winner came back from a 6 point deficit and finished the game with a 3 pointer to quiet the crowd and claim the crown (see video below to catch the finale!)