VBL ’22 Opening Weekend
This past weekend, 16 teams kicked off Year 17 of the Venice Basketball League at the beautiful Venice Beach boardwalk, Hooper’s Paradise. With an amazing atmosphere surrounding the Father’s Day and Juneteenth weekend, crowds gathered around the court, drawn in by outstanding performances from Dame “Gods Prodigy” in Timeless v Basketball Junkies and Ryan “the Hezigod” Carter for In the Lab v Born x Raised, who stood out in a day of competitive basketball and significant performances. The atmosphere was electric, the weather was beautiful, and the basketball was intense. Venice Basketball League is back and opening weekend kickstarted what is sure to be the best league summer at the beach to date.
Day 1 featured highly anticipated matchups of Sunblock vs. Hard to Guard, Leune vs. XvsX Sports, SNS vs. Fentwood, and wrapped up with In the Lab vs. Born x Raised. Sunblock set the standard for the day beating Hard to Guard 65-59. James Boyd received opening weekend’s first Player of the Game honor after recording a double-double, 18 points, 10 rebounds. James was laced with a fresh new pair of Puma’s LaMelo One of One’s. Leune vs. XvsX ended 55-46 and saw arguably the best play of the weekend when Emmanuel Brown of XvsX took a pass on a fast break, rose high and baptized a rookie Leune player, inaugurating the #1 rule of the VBL, and sending him to the bench to wait for two minutes.
The VBL 2021 Champs SNS showed out in their game vs. Fentwood with a dominating win 68-57. The reigning champs showed that they are hungry for a repeat. Day 1 wrapped up with Born x Raised vs. In the Lab, which featured VBL’s first overall pick and Olympic bronze medalist Helena Orts matching up against stars such as the HeziGod and Dev in the Lab. HeziGod reminded the beach how he earned his name, leading his team to an 85-70 victory, finishing as the weekend’s second highest scorer (24 point) and rounding off the first day of hoops.
Can’t forget to mention that Day 1 was capped off with the celebration of the 1st birthday of VBL’s Princess, baby Soleil. Much love from all to Nick, Z, and Soleil in celebrating this important notch in Soleil’s life.
Day 2 saw the biggest crowds of the weekend, welcoming tourists from around the world, visiting for Father’s Day and Juneteenth. The day featured games from HooperVerse vs. FutureMood, Hamilton vs. Top Dawg, Bball Junkies vs. Timeless, and concluded with the in-house rivalry of HoopBus vs. Project BackBoard.
The opening game saw FutureMood top HooperVerse 63-44 with LJ Harris receiving the game MVP honors with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. The second game saw the likes of player-coach Anthony Hamilton go up against Baby Shaq and the mountains that make up Top Dawg. Top Dawg’s physicality ultimately led them to victory, trumping the social media stars 57-42, with an astonishing performance by Dre “Mountain of a Man” Smith who recorded and ugly 18 point and 18 rebound game.
The third game saw the debut of Netflix’s Hustle, welcoming future star Elvin Rodriguez of Timeless to the league. Timeless topped the Basketball Junkies 63-59, as Dame “God’s Prodigy” Young earned the weekend’s honors of both top scorer and player of the week for his all around performance.
The day concluded with the highly anticipated VeniceBall rivalry of team HoopBus vs. Project Backboard. With bragging rights on the line, Project BackBoard sent team HoopBus back on the road with a close 44-39 win.
Next Saturday, June 25th, the Venice Basketball League will help inaugurate the new Lakers Tribute Court at Southside Christian Church in Inglewood, California. The Lakers Tribute Court showcases the history of the Lakers and paintings of Laker greats from Kobe to Kareem. Games will start at 11:00 am and will run till sunset, with a full slate of 7 games taking place throughout the day.
Southside Christian Church 3947 W 104th Street, Inglewood CA 90303