After all of the hype, mystery and overall secrecy that Nike had been pumping into its Los Fearless 2-on-2 tournament over the past few weeks, its final showdown happened at last on Saturday. Finally. I had been beyond stoked for the chance to see what the creative minds over at Nike Basketball had cooked up for the tournament finale and they definitely didn’t disappoint.
From our last Los Fearless experience, each one of the 128 “Chosen Elite,” including our Dime Mag-repping squad “Birdman’s Tattoo Advisors,” were told to meet up at the University of Southern California at 9:00am sharp on this past Saturday. As we pulled up to the school, there was already a single file line of black-hoodied and dog tag-bearing Chosen Elite wrapping down the sidewalk in front of three large shuttle buses. As we crammed onto each one of the carrier vehicles, the mood amongst the crowd was already all business; probably had something to do with there being two-grand on the line for the winning team. 20 minutes or so later and we were at our final destination: the Nike Tunnel.
Now, the Nike Tunnel is more than just a fancy name; it’s an actual underground roadway. Resting directly beneath the streets of downtown Los Angeles, the Nike Tunnel is about as creative a basketball destination as you can dream up. As we exited the buses one-by-one (hoods on of course), we were greeted with five full Los Fearless courts lined up vertically down the underground street â€“ each being occupied by groups of kids running through every drill in the book. The two front courts and two back courts featured Sport Court material, while the middle, and main, court was hardwood. And just as we lined up, we all walked through the entire event together, drawing the attention of everyone already in attendance. We were then led to a back room and huddled up to receive our unique team uniforms. And with that being said, much thanks to the Nike crew for lacing our team up head-to-toe with our uniforms and pair of Nike Zoom Kobe VI Rice PEs.
The gear was dope, but what mattered most was game time. Now that we had the proper attire and had already become familiar with every rule and regulation of the Los Fearless game, we were itching to finally hoop. To start the tournament, each of the 64 teams in attendance were given an exhibition game to warm-up. After our exhibition, everything in the tournament became real as teams geared up to collect the $2K purse. The tournament was set up very similar to a bracket in March Madness. You lose, you go home and if you win, you collect your opponent’s dog tags and move forward. And for as much as we held our own in both the trial games and exhibition match, fate would have it that Birdman’s Tattoo Advisors would not be destined to hold up the tourney’s top overall prize. Which is a kinder way of saying that we got bounced in the first round â€“ along with half of the field. But all the credit to the team that beat us. They had a good game plan and looked like they had been playing with each other for a while.
But not all were doomed to repeat our mistakes. Actually, the team that ended up taking home everything, the Black Mambas, looked dominant from start to finish. A name that figures of course, considering Kobe Bryant‘s Nike branding is a huge part of the Los Fearless campaign.
Along with the Mamba’s winning the 2-on-2 portion, Los Fearless also really put on a good show. Both Deron Williams and Blake Griffin stopped by to chat with kids and sign a few autographs, a live DJ flipped cut after cut and there was an ice cream food truck on site. So, really, everyone was happy one way or another.
As for myself, the overall campaign has definitely been a trip to be a part of. It’s great to see a brand bring something back to its core hoop heads to give them an opportunity and experience that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And for a brand that is always looking to raise the bar, Los Fearless was definitely right on par. Much love to everyone that made this happen and thanks for following on our journey through Los Fearless â€“ sorry we couldn’t bring home the ‘chip. I knew I should have just asked Bieber to be my partner…
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