Here are some of the highlights for 2017!
We had a blast setting off the year dominating the competition at the HUB Money Invitational. VBL all Stars 7-0 VS some fierce competition!
The community came alive a April as the Venice Ball League (“VBL”) hosted Clipper Nation, celebrating the Clippers 4-seed in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. The sun shined bright as the crowd was pumped up at Venice Beach.
VBL All Stars Chris Staples, Michael Purdie, Kwame Alexander and the Los Angeles Lakers, Metta World Peace, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson supported the Hoops for Hope event raising money for kids in medical crisis in he beginning of May. The Lakers had so much fun watching the dunk contest they later decided to join in the festivities and the day went viral with 2 min left in the game as soon as Clarkson decided to bring back some of his streetball flavor and dropped his defender with this killer cross over!
Per our usual the catalysis to the season we hosted our annual Open Run to scout new talent and bring the best young hoopers from around the area into the VBL fold on May 21st. It was a long day for our 100-strong hopefuls – the most ever for a VBL open run! Beginning under the blazing noon sun Keion Kindred led these young men through a VBL combine with endurance, explosiveness, and 1 on 1 drills.
Sunday June 4th marked the first games of the new year, and it was a special occasion for every longtime fan of the league. The day kicked off at 9 AM with the Kids Venice Basketball League (“KVBL”) camp otherwise known as Church of Hoops, VBL’s non-profit initiative focused on engaging LA’s youth in physical activity, healthy eating, and community involvement. This week’s emphasis was “The Art of Shooting.” Several coaches came to help with the camp including [Paul Davis, Chris Staples, Josh Gouch], and basketball legend Sik Wit It.
At noon, VBL’s “Build Courts Not Walls” campaign to revitalize Venice Beach’s famed outdoor courts kicked off with a ribbon-cutting to inaugurate the newly resurfaced court. In tandem with The City of Los Angeles, the LA Dept. of Parks and Rec, the support of Adidas and our amazing community of donors, VeniceBall conducted a full resurfacing and repainting of the VBL court. The purpose of this effort is to give a lasting gift to the community that has supported VeniceBall’s events through the years. VBL hoopers of all ages, along with friends, fans, and family who have been a part of our incredible 11-year journey, attended the ceremony that also celebrated the 126 year anniversary of the beautiful sport of basketball.
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 while the VBL’s greatest dunkers put on a show for the ages. Featured dunkers included Chris Staples, Michael Purdie, AJ Harris, Jarell “Bama” Tate, and
John Jordan (D League Slam Dunk Champ).
We would like to specially acknowledge the players and trainers that shared their time and knowledge with the youth of the KVBL: PGA trainer Andia Winslow, Capoeira master Raiul Sampa, NBA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Sebastien Morin, Paul J Fabritz, 2016 NBA G-League Dunk Contest Champion John Jordan, Chris Staples, former Laker Samaki Walker, Cedric Ceballos, Sik Wit it, former Clipper Craig Smith, Richard Jefferson and former Bucks Larry Sanders.
The season was full of highlights under the sun with the championship game culminating on Ron Beals Day with a performance from Dove Shack and the 1st night game in VBL history. After the exciting drama filled finale, Los Fearless took home the VBL championship. We ended the season the a screening of “White Men Can’t Jump”, on the main court under the summer stars.
In August we took an Allstar VBL to China to compete the the Jump 10 international Streetball Tournament. It was a high stakes money game for $100,000, with teams representing all the countries around the world. The VBL team was the only team not repping a nation but a movement. Donned in the “Venice vs The World” hoddies(available at VeniceBall.com), our team ran the table and became the World Champions!!!!
With end of summer bragging rights on the line, 13 teams entered the field over the weekend for the 2017 VBL World Games held at the Hooper’s Paradise on the second weak of September. After last years 3×3 format the tournament returned to 5×5 full court VBL style streetball in a double elimination bracket with games to 21. Kurtis Blow blessed the beach with a classic show that had the whole crowd on their feet and dancing on the court. Hub Select team in the final did not end well for the Free Agents who gave it their best behind strong efforts from CEO Nick Ansom and Jojo. The strong chemistry of Hub and dependable force inside that was tourney MVP Leon ‘Colossus’ Gibson led them to another World Games title. The Hub Select team in the final defeated the Free Agents who gave it their best behind strong efforts from CEO Nick Ansom and Jojo. The strong chemistry of Hub and dependable force inside that was tourney MVP Leon ‘Colossus’ Gibson led them to back to back World Games titles.
On Thanksgiving Day we hosted an open run and clothing drive in conjunction with LosAngels.org to give back the great energy that we received this season at the beach. The Courts were filled with people sharing clothes, encouraging words, hugs, and hot meals for those in need of the family vibration of the holidays. This was a true blessing to be apart of and a tremendous way to start the holiday season.
In partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department December 3rd we hosted “Santa Slam” featuring a free clinic, swag, and celebrity guest Bdot. We of course had some games featuring LAPD’s official Basketball team and a 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 got crossed up and hit the pavement.
The season of giving continued at the Oakwood Rec in Venice with “Shoes to Fill” shoe and toy drive. This day featured some of the best middle school teams in a one day tournament. The excitement reached a feverish level with a high fly Celebrity game that included Manny the winner of the “Rap Game” and Najee the Blue Power Ranger and our own VBL All Stars. The dunks that were put down had the children going crazy and inspired to keep working hard at their craft to one day be at the level of these elite athletes.
We are grateful for our 11th year, from renovating our home court to winning the word championship, we look forward to 2018 to fulfill our goals to Build, Compete, Elevate.