For 29 long years, more than 1,500 men dreamed of getting off of Alcatraz. But beginning on July 17, hundreds will try their hardest to make it onto the island, with the goal of being crowned King of the Rock. Red Bull King of the Rock will be the first sporting event ever held on Alcatraz, and the first time basketball has been played there since the inmates left the island over 50 years ago. This one-on-one basketball tournament will kick off with six qualifiers on the West Coast: Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland. Sixty-four contestants will emerge from these six qualifiers and make their way to Alcatraz, one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable locations, for the final showdown on September 18.
Both the Qualifiers and the Finals on Alcatraz will follow a straightforward concept where players go head-to-head in raw outdoor basketball, using a single elimination tournament bracket. Games will last five minutes and be subject to regulation hoops rules and scoring (two and three pointers). All games will be played on a half-court layout with four games running at once, each with their own referee, court manager and scoreboard. Players definitely have to be tough to make it to The Rock, but must also play smart – five fouls equals an automatic loss.
After each game, the loser walks, and the winner must remain on the court to immediately face his next opponent. Thus, the more a player wins, the longer he plays. So while pure hoops ability is essential, endurance will also play a major role in overall victory. In the end, there can be only one King, so out of the 64 finalists, only one will be crowned “King of the Rock.”
- July 17 – Los Angeles, Westchester Recreation Center
- September 18 – San Francisco, The Yard on Alcatraz