With end of summer bragging rights on the line, 13 teams entered the field over the weekend for the 2017 VBL World Games held at the Hooper’s Paradise. After last years 3×3 format the tournament returned to 5×5 full court VBL style streetball in a double elimination bracket with games to 21.
First round byes were awarded to VBL summer standouts Los Fearless and Novastars as well as the Jump 10 squad fresh off of their $100K victory in Shanghai.
After day one, five teams were eliminated including Team China Elite who fair so well without their leader ‘More Free’ but VBL fan favorite and high flyer Myree ‘Remix’ Bowden did show out with a viral stuff a the rim in what would become the Bodybuilding.com Power Play of the day. The day concluded with a VBL all-star game that was live streamed to nearly 300,00 viewers in China thanks to a Huawei technologies sponsorship.
The physical style of play saw teams Beach, Boardwalk, Driveway Legends and H20 struggle to attain a win Saturday while one team in particular, Jump 10, looked like favorites to win it all with the intimidating front court combination of Marcus ‘Devourer’ Figgins and Zena ‘Harvard’ Edosomwan. Hub Select pulled out the unlikely victory knocking them out during the semi-final. Edosomwan, a recent graduate of Harvard University played high school ball at nearby Harvard-Westlake (Los Angeles) and just a few months ago was eyeing a career in the NBA. Look for him to become a VBL fixture in the years to come.
The final four from the loser’s side of the bracket provided two of the best matchups of the whole tournament with Tristan ‘King Hustle’ and the Novastars defeating Hall of Fame in a heated game and the Free Agents led by legends Robin ‘Sik wit It’ Kennedy and Sean ‘Inches’ Jackson proving their years of experience too much for Los Fearless.
2-time Champions at the VBL World Games: Hub Select
Coming off of back to back to back games to face a rested Hub Select team in the final did not end well for the Free Agents who gave it their best behind strong efforts from CEO Nick Ansom and Jojo. The strong chemistry of Hub and dependable force inside that was tourney MVP Leon ‘Colossus’ Gibson led them to another World Games title.
Perhaps the real highlight of the weekend was a 20 minute performance on court from hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow. Blow delivered a show for the ages in an all white track suit and proved he still has the juice.
The beach vibes, baskets and music are back on this weekend Sunday September 24th on behalf of Adidas, Bodybuilding.com and Veniceball at the Venice Brooks Fest. We’ll be at Brooks and Speedway just off the boardwalk. See you there.