A native of Queens, N.Y., former Romanian pro Haron “H2O” Hargrave hopes to bring the community together in his fifth version of the Queen’s Day 5-on-5 basketball tournament on August 20-21.
Hargrave’s event will bring the community together for food, music and an intense basketball tournament of 12 teams playing for a grand prize of $5,000 at the Roy Wilkins Park and Recreation Center in Queens. The format is a double-elimination style tournament of eight-man rosters, who will decide the winner by the end of a 20-minute game (with the clock stopping only in the last two minutes), or whomever first reaches 21 by ones and twos.
“I originally started it as a stop the violence campaign,” says Hargrave, who founded the event with friend Dave Bucknor after H2O often returned from college in California to learn friends like Sean Bell, Stack Bundles and Jam Master J had lost their lives to violence in Queens. “I wanted to bring back something positive back to Queens.”
Queens Day isn’t just basketball – vendors, musicians and food will also make up the two-day event that Hargrave hopes to be a family-oriented outing.
“You’re know you’re going to have a great day, you’re going to leave with a couple shirts, a couple CDs,” says Hargrave. “And you get some great basketball, watch some people compete for a chance to win $5,000.”
The deadline for teams to sign up and pay a $600 fee per team is August 15. Spots are still available and inquiries can be send to Hargrave himself, who says he’s grown his event by word of mouth and personally handling out fliers – after he destroys his opponents on the streetball courts, of course.
We also caught up with Hargrave about his own basketball future and how nasty the Euroleague circuit can really be.
Dime: What are you up to as far as your career?
Hargrave: Right now, I’m a free agent. I’m looking to be playing this fall. I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the gym. I sort of, kind of have an agent. A lot of these agents don’t put the same work in that you put into your game, that they put into you. It’s almost like a modeling agency, that’s how I look at it. They just send your resume out to different teams and that’s pretty much it. You’re just a number to them. Sometimes I get kind of discouraged by basketball by that. Right now, it’s not in my hands, it’s in someone else’s hands. It’s not all about what you can do. I can play basketball, I’ve proven that over and over and over again. It’s not what you can do, it’s who you know. But I love this game, and I’m looking to play somewhere this fall back overseas. I’m pushing hard. I’m looking for whatever help I can get right now. My story’s kind of crazy because I feel like I was once at the top and now I’m scratchin’ to get a team.