Two weeks ago season 2 of Red Bull Midnight Run kicked off in our Nation’s Capital. As one of the four participating cities from the inaugural season, the Washington, D.C. ballers were familiar with the event so we expected a strong turn out, and they met our expectations.
However, we didn’t necessarily expect Atlanta, a city that’s new to Red Bull Midnight Run, to impress us like they did this past weekend.
As one of the five new cities in the movement, we weren’t sure what to expect from the Atlanta ballers, but with the level of talent and fierce competitive nature, they proved more than worthy of competing in this ultimate bragging rights competition. We saw high flyers throwing it off the glass to themselves, shooters stringing together three or four straight triples, ball-handlers making defenders look silly, and most importantly, fearless defenders taking the challenge of locking up some of the biggest names in the gym.
High school basketball and the AAU circuit spawn many familiar faces, and a lot of the Atlanta players in the gym this weekend had seen or played with each other before. If you play basketball in the ATL, it’s not because you think it’s cool or it’s the thing to do. It’s because you’ve been playing for years and have grown up as a ball player.
What makes Atlanta basketball different from other cities is exactly that; the players in Atlanta are home grown. They’re groomed from such a young age (whether the AAU circuit or school ball) and with the way they compete it shouldn’t come as a surprise that so many players in the gym already knew each other.
All hundred players went at it for the chance to represent Atlanta in the Red Bull Midnight Finals later this year at the Barclays Center. After about two hours of game action, the talent evaluators got together and selected the top 25 players in the gym. Once the top 25 was assembled, they played five final games and battled for those coveted eight spots in the next round.
The top 25 included standouts Larry Diamond, Josh Sparks, Brandon Robinson, and former Michigan State Spartan, the high-flying Chris Allen, who cut his elbow on the rim. It also featured the first female player in the history of Red Bull Midnight Run, former University of South Carolina guard Lakeisha Sutton – who earned the respect of all the ballplayers in the building with her handle and command of the PG position.
The Final eight players who will represent Atlanta will be announced in the coming days.
The next stop is Chicago on June 22.