You could sense something special was about to happen as a flood of players, decked out in Reebok gear, stormed the court to showcase their talents. After the sun went down, dozens of New York City ballers began running competitive 5-on-5 games to prove they were among the best players in the area.
Along with Chicago, DC and Boston, New York City hosted Red Bull Midnight Run on Saturday night in the NYC for the first of two sessions that will take the 100 invited players first down to 35 and then the final, lucky eight. The goal is to get to Brooklyn as one of those eight and have a shot at representing their city in the ultimate: the Finals on November 17th.
Several players stood out amidst the competition including former Canisius guard Julius "Jules" Coles, whose team stole the show with several fast breaks capped off by electrifying dunks. Coles got help from Tyrone "Redz" Hill, a well-known 2-2 and 3-3 tournament player, and Ira Miller, a do-it-all workhorse who played high school ball with Lamar Odom and Speedy Claxton at Christ the King. Their team was on a tear until they finally lost to a squad led by Amseshem ‘OJay’ Henderson, who made it to last year’s Red Bull King of The Rock (KOTR) final eight. Another standout performance came from fellow KOTR finalist, Sheldon Bailey, who you've probably seen playing the role of Lebron James' body double in several commercials.
Although there was an abundance of talent on the court Saturday night, competition is tough in the other cities and New York is going to have to step up their game to win the Red Bull Midnight Run finals and live up to its reputation as the “Mecca of Basketball”.
- More info at the Red Bull Midnight Run site
- Find out which 35 N.Y.C. players advance to Round 2
- Red Bull King of the Rock 2012