On September 18, 2010, history was made when Red Bull King of the Rock, a one-on-one basketball tournament, was held on the notorious prison yard on Alcatraz Island. When it got down to the final two, it couldn't have been written any better. Los Angeles' Isaiah "Clutch" Bowman and Phoenix's Gary Smith played an intense game that lasted for hours, ending only after Clutch drained a game winner with two seconds left on the clock. The event marked the first time ever an official sporting event had been held on what is nicknamed, The Rock. In 2011, history repeated itself as Red Bull King of the Rock returned to the island, but it also marked the year that the competition became international. The top 64 streetballers from around the globe laced up their sneakers and battled it out for the title of "King." When it came down to the final two players, it was a well-known streetballer from Washington D.C. nicknamed "Baby Shaq" who took first place and the title. The year 2012 will bring even more international talent to the unforgiving island as a new group of 64 aspiring "Kings," from 25 different countries, will show the world if they have what it takes to be this year's Red Bull King of the Rock.

The first time ever an official sporting event
had been held on ... The Rock.

Here's how it works, the qualifiers and finals will incorporate the normal one-on-one basketball set-up where players go head-to-head on an outdoor court, using a single elimination tournament bracket. In other words, it's win or go home. The rules and scoring will be the same as regular hoops, shots will either count as 2 or 3 points and five fouls is an automatic L. Here's where things get crazy, the players will engage in four intense half-court games going on at once, each getting it's own referee, court manager and scoreboard. All winners must immediately proceed onto the next court to face another player, this is where a player must bring his A-game and show some serious stamina, if he wants to be crowned Red Bull King of the Rock.

What Is Streetball?

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STREETBALL (street·ball) Pronunciation:/ ’strēt, bôl, /

noun: an informal type of basketball played especially in urban areas such as parking lots, playgrounds, etc..


As far as maximum security prisons go, Alcatraz Island a.k.a. The Rock, was one of the most infamous, housing some of the most hardened and dangerous criminals in US Penal System history. While many have tried to escape the confines of the prison walls, Alcatraz's complete isolation from society and the hazardous elements of the San Francisco Bay made it undeniably escape proof. Originally, Alcatraz was used as a military prison to hold Civil War prisoners and captives from the Spanish-American War, in 1934 Alcatraz officially became a federal prison. Alcatraz received a complete renovation to assure that the facility would harbor no weaknesses, a direct result of The Great Depression and prohibition ushering in an overwhelming crime wave, especially from organized crime during the late 20's and 30's and Alcatraz was the ideal place to detain America's new public enemies.





For 29 years, the cells of Alcatraz were home to some of America's most unsavory criminal clientele, such names as George "Machine Gun" Kelly, Robert Stroud aka Birdman of Alcatraz, Alvin Karpis, Bumpy Johnson and last but not least, Al Capone. It was the "whose who" of the crime world, a sort of all-star line up of the baddest men to go against the Federal government.

  • George "Machine" Kelly or Pop Gun Kelly
    Time: 1934-1951
    Specialty: Kidnapping, Bootlegging and Armed Robbery.
  • Robert Stroud aka Birdman of Alcatraz
    Time: 1942-1959
    Specialty: Murder.
  • Ellsworth Raymond "Bumpy" Johnson
    Time: 1954-1963
    Specialty: Numbers, Racketeering and Bootlegging.
  • Al "Scarface" Capone
    Time: 1934-1939
    Specialty: Smuggling, Bribery, Bootlegging, Murder and Tax Evasion.

On March 21, 1963, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (yeah that Robert F. Kennedy) shut the cells door of Alcatraz for good due to operating cost and severely eroded buildings from a half of century of salt water saturation. Over the years, the island has been featured in everything from movies, cartoons, books, TV shows, comics and games. Today, the island is a historic landmark and controlled by the National Park Services which offers visitor tours. Still, even though it seems that Alcatraz has been tamed, its grim past continues to loom over the island.

Red Bull King of the Rock 2012 - History