What happens when you have over 1,000 flowers, a legend that has just recently passed away, and thousands of people united to show their appreciation? No, not a funeral, Ron Beal’s day! The last day of the VBL season all dedicated to the Venice Beach legend himself, Ron Beal. Draped around the glass backboards was a full flower arrangement built to withstand some of the best hoopers in the world. Along with that was RON BEALS DAY spelt out in 4 foot flowers letters across the southern baseline.
Tourists, regulars, fans, friends, and most importantly family gathered together to pay their respects, share stories, and for the ones who weren’t lucky enough to meet him while he was alive, listen and learn.
The young generation kicked off the basketball events for the day with a scrimmage between our very own KVBL and a team from Japan! The Japanese systematic style of play took over the beach as KVBL street ball style was left in the dust.
During intermission everyone gathered in a circle and held hands as Ron’s family and some of his closest friends shared stories, memories, anecdotes with everyone. The energy and emotions were unbelievable as over 100 people held hands in a circle around the court. More so, these moments will forever be cemented in everyone’s recollection of the day.
Following the ceremony we had the future take stage with our 18U showcase. The best of the best went at each other and one young man Andrew McFly shutdown the beach early being only 5’4 and dunking (yes DUNKING!) over someone 6’8”. This young man message was clear: “anything is possible”.
In honor of Ron, VBL held a legends game which included tons of his good friends and Venice beach legends. A very competitive and entertaining game was put on as skyhooks got thrown up left and right. Everyone watched in awe as basketball was played in its purest and most beautiful form. From there we dove into the new age by holding our 3 point competition. Up for grabs was some cash, Veniceball gear, sneakers, and most importantly bragging rights. Players and fans where all welcome to join in the exhibition which included 10 shots from the spot of your choice. As shots got thrown up only 2 remained rookies Marc Anthony from team CEB and Trevor Weiger from Project Backboard. The final round came down to the money ball to win it for Trevor with a near perfect 8/10 showing.
Next up was a VBL classic, our high flyers tested their abilities in the To the Top challenge. A test to see who can ring a bell at the top of the backboard by jumping to reach it. This was the perfect warm up for our Dunk Contest! High flyers such as Reemix, Jordan Southerland, Chris Staples, Elijah Bonds, Bionic, and more took flight. Round for round the insane athletic abilities where put on display in front of a crowd of thousands. Reemix shutdown the beach though with a crazy dunk over bionic standing on top of a chair totaling about 8ft tall! And of course, Staples dunked over a car…
Following that was the grand finale. The game that goes down into season 12 history. The Championship Game: Project Backboard vs Green Lights. Once the sun was set and the lights came on the game was under way. The battle went back and forth neither team giving up an inch. By the end of the second quarter project Backboard created a slim lead of 5 points. Starting the 3rd quarter hot green lights flipped it fast as Marcus Bell and Bama couldn’t be stopped. Legendary Sikwitit trying to keep project Backboard alive came in cashing threes from all over. By the 4th quarter green lights was pulling away. Bama and Dezy put on an arial assault dunking everything in sight and running the floor. Creating a 15 point cushion and securing a championship for themselves. Bama earned finals mvp honors and fans stormed the court in celebration.
But this day doesn’t stop there. Ron Beals is so legendary that in fact he was in one of the greatest basketball movies of all time, White Men Can’t Jump. So it’s only right to top off a family day with a family movie right at Venice beach projected on the wall. A movie for a day that has the makings of a movie itself.
Thank you to everyone who came. Thank you to all for an incredible season.
Rest In Paradise Ron Beals, we love you