On The First Annual Hoop & Hang Presented By Hardknock TV, The Smoking Section & Nike Basketball

03.24.11 7 years ago 47 Comments

What started as an offbeat conversation in June came to fruition this past Saturday at SXSW in Austin, TX. Months ago, Nick from HardKnockTV and I were chatting it up in route to Rucker Park as a part of Nike’s WBF. Our mutual love of music, previous SXSW experiences and the idea of “let’s do a basketball get-together for everybody while we’re in Austin next year.” We wanted to create a situation where artists and media could get together outside of the dark, crowded confines of the bars and clubs, getting a chance to intermingle without microphones, performances and the demands of content hanging over anyone.
Next year came. Tons of planning, ideas thrown around, phone calls made, emails sent and approximately 50 artists and media members later, we had the first annual Hoop & Hang event set. 16 teams of three gathered and played basketball.
But to simply say “we played” seems understated. The guys walked into the gym laughing and joking, a few groggy from the late nights prior but everyone genuinely excited about showcasing their skills and just to participate. Then play started. Competition heated up. Phone calls to managers were made, stating “I may be a little late for my 3:30 showcase, man.” Sweat started pouring. Shots and calls contested.
And all done in the name of three t-shirts and bragging rights.
In the end, we all laughed, gave dap-hugs, new friendships were formed and everyone promised to do the same thing again next year, perhaps on a larger scale. I could see the wheels spinning on guys as they eyed who to recruit next year, which ringers they would bring and how amazed they were that so many of us could come together and everybody walk away energized by the experience.
The Sportsmanship Award: The Force
They tried their best, but having Vandalyzm on their squad may have been a potential handicap.
Most Questionable Performance: The on-court officials
Not saying they were Tim Donaghy impersonators but these guys generally sucked. These guys ate their whistles, not calling obvious fouls and other violations. Overheard was “if you aren’t bleeding, it wasn’t a foul. Play ball.” Coincidentally, the two man refs were myself and MZ. The timekeeper and scorekeeper did great jobs though.
The “Git-R-Done” Recipient: Hustle Simmons
Naturally, an event promoter knows how to wear many hats and Hustle applied his stage and show know-how to the courts. A defensive stop, a block, a bucket. Whatever was needed, Hustle stepped in for his squad.
“Get Me On The Court And I’m Trouble” Award: Stalley
Rappers want to be ballers, but some rappers really could have been exceptional athletes. Tall and gangly, Stalley has handles, a quick first step and the ability to create space to get off his shot. It’s hard to imagine that the only thing that kept Stalley from a college career was injuries. But since ITM is so great, I think rap ultimately won.
The “Hey, Unfair. He Played D1” Award: Jon Hope
A few guys did have college hoop experience under their belt and proved it. Jon was one of those few and he brought big game to the court. His squad didn’t win the chip (they did win the consolation game) but my money says teams looking to recruit for next year will be seeking out this man’s contact info.
The Larry Bird Backing Up His Trash Talking Award: Skotch Davis
“Swish The Shot” Skotch (pictured playing defense) was talking all kinds of smack on Twitter about his skills, and was determined to prove his words true. Especially when he was on the court shooting around before the lights were on. We got there at like 10am and Skotch had already worked up a sweat and was running suicides. Rumor has it he even hit the free weights the night before to prepare.
DNP (Coach’s Decision) Award: John Gotty™
Hey, I know everyone wanted to hear stories of me participating but a.) most importantly, I had to somewhat oversee things and b.) I smoke two packs of Kools on light days. Running isn’t in the cards. But, I’ll outshoot anybody in a game of HORSE. Maybe I’ll train a little and get it in next year, fellas.
The “Holy Cannoli,” Tournament Sleeper Award: Smoke DZA
I promise you I was baffled when Ashley Outrageous told me DZA was interested. “Smoke DZA? The guy who raps about smoking a lot?” Then, I asked Smoke for his sizes and he ordered the only size XXL in jersey and shorts while everyone else wore more moderate sizes. I figured it couldn’t bode well.
Yet ask anybody who got the biggest crowd reaction and I’d say it had to be DZA. Harlem, he repped you well, playing with style, talking loud and letting the world know he was in the building.
The Sweetest Shot: L.e.
Bearing an offbeat resemblance to Stephen Curry, this man L.e. was raining J’s from every open spot on the court. Give him open space and with the flick of a wrist he was scoring. And doing it real casual cool, too, drawing the ire of anybody trying to defend.
The Charles Oakley Award: Big Homie Doe
Need a foul committed? Chicago’s Doe (second from the right) was your man as he took a real offense to anyone who came in the paint. I won’t call any names but I did notice certain squads driving the lane early against him, later settling for long-range jumpers once they realized the paint was off limits.
The Unfair Genetics Award: Chris McAdoo of Hollyweerd
When you think Hollyweerd, you think art, incense and general wacky shit. No motherf*cking body from Hollyweerd should be able to hoop. So when Chris came to the court in what looked like dress socks, it seemed like he would be the laughing stock of the court, but this little sprite was crossing dudes over and hooping like a pro. When we asked him where he learned how to play ball his response was: “My uncle is in the NBA Hall Of Fame. You ever heard of Bob McAdoo?” Go figure.
The last guy picked at the park: TSS Crew’s TC
Unfortunately, our guy would be that guy. I love my brother but his performance receives a One Cig rating and it also led to…
Best Single Game Performance: Jake One
I love Jake One and we’ve supported his brand of White Van Music for a while now. So with all due respect I say that Jake’s not your stereotypical hooper. He’s white, stands 5′ 10″ on his tip-toes and no spring chicken. And he scorched TC up for at least 10 of his squad’s winning 15 points in a single game, cementing his name in the early pages of the Hoop & Hang history books. Retirement is not in Jake’s future either because when I saw him later that night, he promised he was training and then bringing back a revamped squad next year.
Clutch Performer(s): Ciph, Miss Dimplez, HDiep and 5th Child
As the man on the ground in ATX, Ciph helped tremendously during pre-planning. During the event, Miss Dimplez and 5th Child stepped in to help keep things running smoothly, keeping score, managing the clock and the bracketing. And all the photos seen here are courtesy of HD of of HDShootsPhotos.com. Big salute to all four of those folks.
Extra shouts to Meka from 2DopeBoyz from coming through to make sure the gym rocked and everybody involved.
Most Valuable Player Poet: Like of Pac Div
While some may contest the nod, I’d have to go with Like (far right). Even though his squad lost the title game, the guy put together a nice highlight reel. Somewhere along the line early in play, he simultaneously put the ball on a string and SMKA’s 808 Blake on skates, leaving Blake to pick himself off the floor. In another blurring sequence, he dribbled the ball through a defender’s legs on the left wing, shook the next defender with a crossover and then scooped a layup under the third. In a three-on-three tourney, that’s one team, all dismantled by Like in one play.
The Champions: PUSH! Montana, Brockington and Dutch, repping Team Diamond aka The Smokers Club Tour Team
Remember when the Pistons were the Bad Boys? Meet, Brock aka Bill Lambeer. Picture Dutch, Big K.R.I.T.’s road manager, as a hybrid between the roughness of Rick Mahorn, a nose for the ball like Rodman and the smooth shot like Aguirre. And then there was PUSH!, a portly version of Zeke, putting in work.
This motley crew knocked off several squads and I do believe they didn’t lose a game (if I’m wrong, I only remember them losing one maybe). In the end, they walked away with the championship gear to wear around Austin for the rest of SXSW, but the title of champions to hold until next time around.
Special thank you’s
— Everyone – players and audience – who participated.
— Extra thanks to Nike Basketball for supporting the idea.
Austin Parks & Recreations, Rosewood Rec Center and the Dorris Miller Auditorium staff for all of their support.
Click through for additional photos.

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