When the tourney made its way to the City of Brotherly Love on July 31, hometown squad “E2” won the crown. The next week in Baltimore, E2 lost in the semifinals to “No Mercy,” another Philly tandem that went on to win the title on unfamiliar turf. And in the tour’s finale yesterday in Washington D.C., No Mercy and E2 battled through some of D.C.’s biggest playground legends, legit pros, and recent college stars to meet up in the championship, where No Mercy — Tyrone “Redz” Hill and DeSean White — claimed the $2,000 check and prizes from Skull Candy, Kicker and Power Balance.
Hands down, D.C. produced the deepest talent pool of any of the five Red Bull tournament stops. Andrew “SpongeBob” Washington, former Florida State star Isaiah Swann, Harlem Globetrotters alumnus Will “Butta Bean” Peters, NBA D-League veteran Mike Mackell, and Omar Weaver — the leading scorer in D.C.’s famed Goodman League — were among the local standouts in action at the district’s Barry Farms Rec Center park. Throw in the collection of D-1 caliber players and overseas pros who came from previous Red Bull cities to compete, and this was the toughest field we’ve seen all summer.
D.C. also had the first all-female team on the tour: Melissa Washington (Wake Forest) and Danyelle Payne (Kentucky) made it past their play-in game before losing a close one in the first round of the 32-team bracket.
And as always, the games were played under “Rajon Rondo Rules,” a unique scoring system which awards extra points for Rondo-style moves like making a defender fall, ripping your man for a steal, pinning somebody against the backboard, and dunking on somebody’s head.
“It definitely changes the game,” said Andre Colon, whose team made it to the second round. “If you love the game and you’re willing to try something new, it lets you show your other strong points, like playing defense. You don’t get points for that in the NBA.”
The semifinals pitted the high-flying Swann and 6-foot-11 Marcus Cousin (University of Houston) â€“ teammates in Israel’s pro league last season — versus E2’s Ellis Grindraw and Anthony “Ghetto” Frazier on one side, with No Mercy playing SpongeBob and Rashaud Nixon (Tennessee Tech) on the other. The two Philly squads knocked off their D.C.-based opponents in a pair of intense wars of attrition, and in the championship game, grinded out a hard-fought contest that went down to the wire. With DeSean White, nicknamed “Big Smooth” by Barry Farms announcer Miles Rawls, scoring on bankers and free throws and Grindraw (a.k.a. “Jerome Bettis,” according to Miles) dropping in power layups, it was eventually tied at 20-apiece, with $2,000 hanging on the next bucket. White got to his favorite spot on the right wing, and using his 6-8 frame, took two big steps and hit an off-balance banker to seal the deal.
“This is what we do,” said Redz. “We punish teams. Last time (in Baltimore) we should have called our team ‘Too Easy.’ This time we should’ve been ‘The Punishers.’ They fought hard, it was tough, but we had too much skill.”
For more information on the Red Bull 2on2 Revolution, visit www.redbullusa.com/2on2