We had a blast setting off the year as we dominated the competition at the HUB Money Invitational. The VBL All Stars won 7-0 against some fierce competition!
Then, the community came alive in April as the Venice Basketball League (“VBL”) hosted an event called Clipper Nation, which celebrated the Clippers 4-seed in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. It was a beautiful day as the sun shined bright and the crowd was pumped up at Venice Beach.
This year, VBL’s campaign “Build Courts Not Walls” took off as we revitalized the famous Venice Beach’s outdoor courts with a major celebration. It was kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the newly resurfaced court, one that we hold very special in our hearts. It was a moment for us to share our love with the community and also be recognized for this place being our “home”. In tandem with The City of Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Dept. of Parks and Rec, Adidas, and our amazing community of donors, VeniceBall conducted a full resurfacing and repainting of what is now called, The VBL Court. The purpose of this effort was to give a lasting gift to the community that has supported VeniceBall’s events through the years. Without them, none of this would have be possible. Everyone was connected that day as it was a mix of VBL hoopers from all ages, along with friends, fans, and family who have been a part of our incredible 11-year journey. They attended the ceremony of the court alongside the celebration of the where it began, with the 126 year anniversary of this beautiful sport, basketball.
Fast forward to the middle of summer, on June 14, at Orange Lutheran High School we put on the show with our Adidas family featuring the “Best High School Kids” in the country. VBL’s greatest dunkers put on a show for the families, children, and future all stars. Featured dunkers included Chris Staples, Michael Purdie, AJ Harris, Jarell “Bama” Tate, and John Jordan (D League Slam Dunk Champ).
In August, we took the VBL All Star Team to China to compete in the Jump 10 International Streetball Tournament. It was a high stakes money game for $100,000, with teams represented from countries all around the world. The VBL team was the ONLY team not representation a nation but, instead a movement. Dressed in the “Venice vs The World” hoodies, (available in the VBL Store), our team ran the courts and became known as the World Champions!!!!
Fall forward! On Thanksgiving Day we took the morning in gratitude and hosted an open run and a clothing drive in conjunction with LosAngels.Org to give back the great energy that we received this season at the beach. As many know, the homeless community is a real part of the community in Venice Beach, and we take care of our own. The Courts were filled with people sharing clothes, encouraging words, hugs, and hot meals for those in need of the family vibrations this holiday season. It was a true blessing to be apart of this event and a tremendous way to kickoff the holiday season as a community and a team.
In partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department December 3rd, we hosted our annual “Santa Slam” Holiday Toy Drive featuring a free kids clinic, swag, and celebrity guest Bdot, NBA Impersonator. We of course had to have some games against the LAPD’s Official Basketball Team, and a surprise visit from Santa Claus himself! The day was full of highlights and was featured on Ballislife with the caption “Officer Down!”, as one of LA’s finest officers got crossed up and hit the pavement while his opponent went by.
The season of giving continued as we celebrated at the Oakwood Recreation Center in Venice with our “Shoes to Fill” toy and shoe drive. This day featured some of the best middle school teams from the LA Area in a one day tournament to showcase their skills. The excitement reached a feverish level with a high flying celebrity game that included Manny, the winner of the “Rap Game” and Najee, the Blue Power Ranger as well as our own VBL All Stars. Our instagram highlights the dunks that were put down, flying santas and the children going crazy with inspired to keep working hard at their craft. It was a day filled with giving and vision to one day be at the level of these elite athletes.
Thank you everyone! We are grateful for our 11th year, from the renovation of our home court to winning of the World Championships. We’re looking forward to 2018 as we grow to fulfill our goals with more building, competing, and elevating.
VBL 2018. BUILD. COMPETE. ELEVATE.
See you on the courts!