This week is setting up to be a special one for basketball heads in one of (we at Regal say the best, but we’ll chill for now) the best basketball cities in the world.
Chicago is hosting the 2014 World Basketball Festival, which will occupy prime real estate at Jackson Park on the South Side for the remainder of the week, featuring various games, exhibitions and plenty marketing opportunities for chief sponsors Nike and Jordan Brand, but it also coincides with the three-day stay of the USA national basketball team in the fair city of the Go.
As it pairs its roster down to its final 12 who will represent the U.S. in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, Team USA will practice for the next few days in Chicago, leading up to an exhibition against Team Brazil this Saturday, that afternoon the Festival culminates with the championship games of the 2014 Chi-League Pro Am tournament, which took place once again this summer at Whitney Young High School.
Also on the slate for the Festival will be showcases for talent at all levels, including youth basketball clinics, the Nike Tournament of Champions featuring teams from across the country, 3-on-3 championships and a WINCITY All-Star game featuring Chicago celebrities. Take a look at a full schedule of the weekend’s events from our friends at the RedEye (peep Regal Radio reps in its 5 on 5 feature in each Tuesday’s sports section).
Slam Mag Pays Tribute
Given the added spotlight on the Chi this week, the online arm of Slam Magazine is paying tribute to the city and its long-established basketball tradition this week, among the links that have caught my eye was the list of the Chicago area’s 50 finest basketball products by long-time Slam contributor, current CSN Chicago Bulls insider and friend of Regal, Aggrey Sam.
Another friend of our crew, Evan F. Moore, came across a lot of controversy last year with his comprehensive lists of the best high school ball players in Chicagoland history, it seems Aggrey and Slam tried to sidestep a lot of that by not numbering the list and by lumping city and suburban players all in one, but peep the comment section, you know some folks’ personal favorites were left off and they’re letting it be known — its all good though, narrowing down all of Chicago-area basketball history to 50 players is only a slightly less pressing task than narrowing the night sky down to its top 50 stars.
Also deserving of props is Rick Telander’s short statement on the sacred nature of playgrounds, especially in the summer, where so many games are molded in the heat and clear air the season offers. We also know what else can be forged in this season in Chicago — unexplainable violence. Lets hope any such actions stay far away from Jackson Park this weekend, not trying to be a Debbie Downer or Nervous Nancy, but such foolishness couldn’t even stay away from the Bud Billiken Parade this past weekend.
Unfortunately we are not in an age where we can take for granted that all our brothers and sisters can keep away the bullshit even when most of us want nothing more than to enjoy ourselves at one large gathering and not keep our heads on a swivel.
Bulls Schedule Leaking Out
This Saturday already marks Derrick Rose’s return to organized action on the United Center court and Monday came the release of the Chicago Bulls’ preseason slate, which kicks off Oct. 6. As of this writing we’re in the final moments before the NBA releases the official regular season schedules but its major games trickled out early, including the season openers and the holiday games, all of which the Bulls will play a showcase role in.
Sports Mockery provided a short list of the early notable games, including the season opener Oct. 29 against the Knicks, LeBron’s first visit to Chicago with the Cavaliers two days later and the Bulls’ return to Christmas Day at home against the Lakers.
We’ll have more on these highlight games and the rest of the Bulls’ 2014-15 slate when the entire thing drops officially. Until then, take a look at one of the last pure moments of joy the Bulls provided with a healthy Derrick Rose, in their season-opening Christmas win against the Lakers in L.A. back in December of 2011 as we all welcomed back the NBA after its last lockout. And look at who the hero got his shot over…so much has changed.
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