By Mary O’KEEFE
In 2009, sports apparel icon Nike launched the 3ON3 basketball tournament at L.A. Live, the entertainment and sports district surrounding the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre.
At that first event, there were over 500 teams and more than 13,000 players and spectators. The event has grown by almost three times the original number of teams and about 4,500 players and 25,000 spectators, according to nike3on3.com
The teams consist of four to five members, three that are competing on court at any one time during the game. Basketball players from Crescenta Valley joined others from around Los Angeles County at the event last weekend.
The event has a special place in the heart of Tim Sikora.
“Tyler first discovered this tournament,” said Sikora of his son Tyler. “The players are keeping his memory alive.”
Tyler was only 15 when he collapsed on the CV High School’s outdoor basketball court on May 20, 2010. He had a history of a heart condition but his death was a shock to his family and to his family of friends throughout Crescenta Valley. Tyler loved basketball and took any chance to play the game.
His dad and mom, Colleen, were at the 3ON3 event this weekend. They were there to support the team RIPS (Rest In Peace (Tyler) Sikora).
“Tyler found out about 3ON3 and organized a team,” Sikora recalled. His brother Devon was a member of the team as well.
Since his death, the team continued to compete each year. Kenny Hor is a member of the RIPS. He told his brother Henry about the event and another team was formed.
“I heard about it from Henry,” said Danny Goldsworthy.
Henry, Goldsworthy, Calvin Edwards and Nick Kelly named their team the Thundercats. The name of the team mimics the fun the players equate with the tournament.
“I like the [event] because it is fun. You get to play with friends,” Goldsworthy said.
There is no real pressure to win; it is just the love of the game that brings many out for the weekend. Each team is matched in accordance to the ages and skill level of its members.
Another attraction, said Goldsworthy, is being able to meet other players from a variety of different areas.
The 2012 Nike Basketball 3ON3 Tournament was presented by One a Day Men’s Pro Edge.