Hoops Las Vegas to host three-on-three tournament

Organizers for the Hoops Las Vegas 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament are hoping to make it an event to remember.

The tournament, scheduled from
9:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road, is set to feature entertainment, vendors and competitions. A portion of event proceeds will benefit Boys & Girls Clubs and Title I HOPE, a homeless outreach program focused on education.

“We’ve got DJ Hollywood kind of hosting the event,” said organizer Wayne Griffin, CEO of Hoops Las Vegas. “It’s going to be huge and a lot of fun.”

The tournament is set to feature divisions broken down by age, ranging from incoming sixth-graders to players over 55. In between there are adult elite, adult recreational, coed and several school-age divisions.

A recent development is a plan to give an Armen Gilliam Memorial Award to the top elite team.

The basketball legend went by Armon Gilliam when he played for UNLV from 1983 to 1987 and was on the legendary 1986-87 team that won 37 games in a season, a win record that still stands in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Gilliam played for 13 years in the National Basketball Association. He died on July 5 at 47 of a heart attack after collapsing at a gym in Pennsylvania during a basketball game.

“We’re going to have several former players who are going to present (the award to) the winners of the elite division team,” Griffin said. “We thought it would be a great thing for the players, and it’s a way to preserve his memory.”

In addition to hosting the tournament, Hoops Las Vegas is seeking partners to finance a world-class sports complex highlighting basketball. But until those plans are concrete, organizers have the two-day event, which they boast will include three-point and free-throw contests, bounce houses, face painting, food vendors and a companion festival organized by a local online magazine.

“We’ve got Urban Culture magazine involved,” Griffin said. “They were already working on their summer fest, showcasing up-and-coming talent, so they decided to combine it with our event.”

The magazine has been promoting local talent in the valley since 2000. Magazine employee Will Montgomery is excited about the joint event.

“We’re going to have a lot of great local talent there,” he said. “It’s a family event. We’re excited to not just be working with the kids but involving their parents, too.”

Hoops Las Vegas organizers aren’t concerned about the recent closure of some of the entrances to Sunset Park as part of major ongoing park renovations.

“We’ve discussed it with (organizers at) the park, and it doesn’t directly affect the basketball area,” Griffin said. “In fact, they just re-striped the basketball courts in time for the event.”

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa said there would be reduced parking available, and while the county didn’t anticipate major problems, in part because the group plans to use a shuttle service, visitors should be aware of the situation.

“What will be open are the Little League parking lot at Pecos-McLeod and the lot at the tennis courts,” Pappa said. “We’ve asked the public to bear with us as we make these improvements. Parking may be a little challenging, so visitors should leave early to allow extra time to find a space.”

Registration to play in the three-on-three competition has closed, but spectators are welcome to watch and participate in the festival for free. For more information, visit hoopslasvegas.com or urbanculturemagazine.org.

Contact Sunrise and Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.

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