Salt Lake City (SLC) is not a metaphor. Nineteen teams descended on the city, surrounded by mountains, to participate in the NGBA Salt Lake City Classic II basketball tournament. The city was represented by in the tournament by three local teams, the SLC Hardwood (C), Missionaries (B+), and Wild-Thangs (C). FYI, The inaugural NGBA tournament was held in SLC in 2006, and that event set the stage for NGBA’s future events.
The weekend with a mixer/check-in party Friday night hosted in the host hotel’s lobby at the Homewood Suites, where players checked-in, picked up t-shirts and swag bags as they mingled and enjoyed adult beverages and food. Following the check-in party players made their way to the VIP welcoming party, hosted by the Moose Lounge to close out the night.
The games were played in the city of Draper, a 15 minutes charter bus ride, to the Sports City Gym. Players at the host hotel were given the option to ride on the charter coach bus to and from the gym and many did. Unfortunately, Saturday mornings bus did not start out well. The first bus was delayed by 30 minutes, because the bus went to the wrong hotel, and got the day started late. But, at the end of the day, it all worked out, and we got back on schedule.
The NGBA Next Level motto took a giant step in players experience, thanks to event sponsor Spaulding, with the introduction of the Spaulding online live game player stats. Each court had a dedicated stats person recording every rebound, make and miss from two-point range and three-point range, turns over, and assists giving players a clear picture of their personal and teams performance.
The Yin Wellness Institute Athletic trainers treated the players like top-flight athletes. Players, we able to experience recovery boots, KT Tape and all around top-notch physical therapy care.
Saturday nights event was held at The Metro were players watched Miss Cracker, from RuPaul’s Drag race, headline the night., but that was not the only game in town. The Sunday night host the Sun Trapp was also popular with the players Saturday night.
Another NGBA event wraps up with smiles hugs and new friends. The NGBA stay to play rule allowed players to spend quality time together during breakfast, and while riding the bus. The stay to play policy has those that support it and those that don’t, but one player from San Francisco stated ” I was not happy being made to stay at the host hotel, but know I get it. My experience interacting with all the players at the hotel really made this my stay much more fun.” The purpose of the stay to play is to build community, networks, and camaraderie amongst basketball players. Hence the motto NGBA is More Than Basketball.
The next NGBA tournament will take place on January 26-27 in Austin Texas, and will host the inaugural women’s division.