It’s the end of summer, when most fans thoughts are of pennant races and football kickoffs and even a little US Open. But for diehard hoopsters, the basketball season never ends. That is why a few thousand people will gather in Philadelphia this weekend, inside Temple University’s Liacouras Center, for the next step in the re-launch of a brand that helped re-define a genre of hip hop and basketball, starting almost two decades ago.
A host of NBA players, legendary streetball and dunk artists and musical performers will be on hand as the inaugural 12-team, $100,000, winner-take-all AND1 Summer Remix Tournament tips off Thursday and continues through Sunday. The event is being organized by AND1 and event partner IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company.
The 12 teams assembled will have a unique mix of NBA names and streetball legends, which will include NBA and former college stars such as Shawn Kemp, Stephen Jackson, Wilson Chandler, Mardy Collins, Ronald "Flip" Murray, Marcus Thornton, Kenny Satterfield, Dionte Christmas and Lance Stephenson among many others.
In addition to the streetball tourney, several “elite dunkers” will compete in a Slam Dunk contest on Sunday. Justin Darlington, also known as “Jus Fly,” winner of the 2012 Nike World Basketball Festival Dunk Contest in Washington, D.C.; Guy Dupuy, a 6-foot-3, 22-year old star from France, known as “The Best Dunker In The World,”; Brandon “Werm” Lacue, winner of the Sprite Slam-Dunk Showdown; Haneef Munir, known by the nickname of “Young Hollywood”; and former Globetrotter star Chris Staples, known to many by the nickname of “Hoopstar,” are all scheduled to compete for an additional $10,000 “winner- take-all” prize.
On the entertainment side, The Source Magazine will present the best of its Unsigned Hype Artists at this year's AND1 Summer Remix and will join with music stars including Joell Ortiz, Michael Bivins, Jermaine Dupri, Juelz Santana, Rico Love, DJ Diamond Kuts, DL RL, DJ Johnny V, DJ Aktive and others to provide a unique mix of off-court entertainment to the basketball activities.
The Tour, which continues to be managed by New Jersey resident Linda Hill, is a significant piece of what made the trash talking, in your face brand so popular especially with urban youth on the playgrounds of Philly, New York, Camden and Newark when it was launched by Seth Berger almost 20 years ago. Since then the brand has undergone various starts and finishes, but all the pieces--marketing, apparel, sponsorship, athlete representation, and entertainment--have now reformed to re-enter the marketplace.
It is a name that still resonates from the days when Vince Carter and Stephon Marbury wore the shoe, and AND1 received a nice bounce when Stephenson, now playing for the Indiana pacers, played so well during last year’s NBA Playoffs.
This weekend will be the next step in the re-jig of a solid brand, which now takes back to the court, and to the playgrounds soon after. That’s where basketball season never ends.