By now, we’ve given you some idea of what Nike Basketball has been doing with their secret 2-on-2 tournament, Los Fearless, that has been operating in L.A. over the last few weeks. And as of today, we now know its final location: The “Nike Tunnel” on Lower Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles this Saturday.
And this past Tuesday, we got our first look at what the Los Fearless 2-on-2 game is all about. At 9 p.m., our Dime crew in the tournament, Birdman’s Tattoo Advisors, arrived at USC’s Galen Center just as Nike requested we arrive “ready to play.”
Upon arriving at the arena’s entrance, our team, along with six other “Chosen Elite,” were instructed to put on a blindfold and line up single-file. We then each grabbed the shoulder of the opponent/teammate in front of us and blindly walked through the halls of Galen. Our first stop was the USC film room, where four desks, eight marked packets and eight flashlights awaited us — along with another video from our anonymous friend in the hood.
Our task this time? To memorize the rules of the Los Fearless tournament in 5 minutes, and there would be a test upon completion. The rules of Los Fearless are simple enough and project for fast-paced, high-action basketball. The game is played on a mini full court with dimensions from 50 feet long, with 18-foot baselines and a 30-foot half line. Games are played to 11, but can only end on a made free throw. Essentially, a game-winning field goal isn’t “game-winning” unless you can convert the “and-one.” So technically, a team could reach 11 points first and still lose if they can’t connect on the final free throw. However, if neither team can secure the win within seven minutes, each team will face off in free-throws until one reaches 11. The court’s paint is known as the “belly,” and points inside of it are worth two points, while shots outside are only worth one.
So after learning and digesting each and every one of the tournament’s rules, we were once again instructed to blindfold up. This time, we were lead onto a court upstairs, where the sounds of players hooping from all around filled the gym.
“When I say ready, go, you take off your blindfold,” said a voice to our right. Sick. This is it, we’re finally going to catch some burn and scout some of the competition. Upon taking our blindfolds off, we found ourselves face-to-face with another Chosen Elite duo, who had already begun playing our match.
Let me tell you, there is no room to pause and rest in a game of Los Fearless. And if you haven’t been conditioning lately, like say this writer, then you’re sucking wind very quickly. But that’s what makes the Los Fearless game so unique and cool. It’s quick, it’s tough and it’s hit-you-in-your-face basketball without apologies or explanation. To score effectively, you’ve got to get into the belly and you’ve got to be in constant communication with your teammate. The belly also extends to the free throw line, so I’m expecting to shoot a lot of elbow jumpers. It’s just far enough to make bigger defenders fall back, but just in range for the more valuable two points.
In total, our team played four matches to 11, a tune-up for Saturday’s final showdown. I think we held our own. There was one game where we did get waxed and would rather not bring up again in casual conversations, but otherwise, the competition stacked up as expected: tough and hungry. Remember, there’s two-grand on the line for the winners and people are gunning for it.
So, the end of Los Fearless is near. And if you’re in the L.A. area this weekend, I suggest you stop by, because I have the strangest feeling that Nike Basketball is going to put on quite a show.