When you think of basketball in the summertime in New York City, there are certain things that come to mind. Playing basketball in the middle of Times Square is not one of those things, but come this August, things are about to change. This summer, Nike and USA Basketball are bringing the world’s best basketball teams to NYC for the inaugural World Basketball Festival, a four-day celebration of the performance and culture of the game.
The World Basketball Festival, which will run August 12-15, features the first time that Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse come together for one event. And this is one event you definitely don’t want to miss. For the past two days, I was taken all over NYC to get the lay of the land for this summer’s festivities, including an introduction on Wednesday from Charlie Denson, Jerry Colangelo, Kevin Durant and Yi Jianlian.
“The World Basketball Festival will be an unforgettable event for the people of New York City and basketball fans around the world,” says Denson, Nike Brand President. “Every two years we plan to connect the global world of basketball to celebrate the sport while leaving a lasting legacy within the community.”
WBF tips off with a showcase featuring members of the 2010 USA Basketball National Team on an open-air court in Times Square (Broadway between 47th & 48th), along with an unprecedented performance by a surprise musical act. (Yes, they’re laying down the hardwood in the center of Times Square.) From there, the next two days will feature games at the legendary Rucker Park in Harlem, where open-air practices and scrimmages by the National Teams from Brazil and Puerto Rico, and training by France, will be mixed with a grassroots youth tournament serving as the championships for some of New York’s top summer basketball leagues.
The Festival will conclude with an exciting exhibition double-header featuring the United States taking on France (1 p.m.) and China meeting Puerto Rico (3:30 p.m.) at famed Madison Square Garden. The exhibition games are being utilized as part of the teams’ preparation for the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship in Turkey, which runs August 28 to September 12.
“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to bring the energy and excitement of USA Basketball’s Men’s National Team to fans and give them with a way to celebrate their team,” says Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Chairman. “We are honored to have the opportunity to represent the United States in the FIBA World Championship and I can’t think of a better sendoff for our team than the World Basketball Festival.”
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