SOMECITY Tokyo @rvkbvd
3×3. Alley-oop. And-one. Ankle-breaker. Assist. Athlete. Backdoor. Ball. Ballaholic. Bank shot. Basket. Basketball. Bench. Big man. Blindside screen. Block. Board. Buzzer beater. Circus shot. Crossover. Crowd. Defense. Dime. DJ. Dribble. Dunk. Eurostep. Fadeaway. Finger roll. Floater. Free throw. Hook shot. Hoop. In-n-Out. Jump shot. Layup. Local hero. MC. Motion offence. Music. Overtime. Pass. Pick-and-roll. Players. Post up. Pump fake. Rainbow. Rebound. Referee. Skywalk. Streetball. Tap in. Team. Trey. Turnover. V-cut. VIDEO.
ALL DAY. EVERYDAY. EVERYWHERE. ANYWHERE.
Somecity Ballaholic Streetball Basketball is a bit of everything. The official motto is: All day. Everyday. Everywhere. Anywhere. It’s just a hint to help you understand how deep and passionate is the love for the Game by the skilled Japanese guys playing in the so called “Ballaholic” tournament. I met Keita Suzuki, one of the founders of the whole thing, in Tokyo. It was late July and the tense pre-game of an important #7 Neighborhood Classic 3×3 match at Club Città in Kawasaki. I didn’t know what to expect, I only had a few information browsed on the all-Nipponese website Somecity.tv and exchanged a couple of e-mails with him. I reached the club hours before the game started and people were already forming a long queue in front of the location: the game was sold-out. At the entrance I spotted a huge table full of official merchandise, a feast for your eye: full of colors, hoop-related stuff and Bhllc official gadgets.
Somecity started back in 2007 when Streetball Basketball lovers decided to create a tournament and put it inside discos or clubs to bypass the shortage of structures and funds. They convinced international sport brand Champion to help them and decided to use the basic 3×3 rules with a twist: each game is played by two teams, the presence of a bench full of reserves is allowed and there’s a coach directing the orchestra. Music: yes. There’s a couple of DJs playing mostly hip-hop music (and popular radio hits), a couple of MCs to introduce players and comment with style and enthusiasm each shot on the field, a rich and loud audience (from kids to teenagers, women and men, parents and fans: everyone wearing or waving the colors of the supported team), big screens showing videos, trailers, visuals and a lot of action. The tournament goes on in Aomori, Niigata, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Shiga, Okayama, Shigane whilst the League is contested with the imperative “Play hard defense, unlock your skills” in Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai, Nagano. The teams fighting for a place in the playoffs (right, there’s a whole calendar for the season, like in the pros, with a regular season, playoffs – plus a terrific All-star game – and, of course, the Finals) here in Tokyo have funky names and clear ideas on how to rock the court: F’squad, KidRoc, Underdog, Tokyo Beast, Bay Crown Simon, Tsutomu Showtime, Hiratsuka Connections and 44Street.
The game is tough. The guys are skilled. And respectful. They shake hands, they help each other to stand up from the floor after a deadly foul, they hug before and after the match. Mostly, they are here to celebrate Streetball Basketball, even if it’s not played in the streets. They play to win, but most important they play to have fun. They play for themselves, but also they play for their fans. Some of them are tall, some really fit, others are “shorter” or “larger” but every each one of them got a place in the field, and knows how to give the team his best to succeed. Unlike the American Streetball you have in mind,they don’t play to prevail, but to unveil: to help the Streetball Basketball movement grow in Japan where, as a matter of a fact, it’s in a newborn stage. But if this is the kind of attitude and values Somecity is promoting through its games, websites, social networks, clothing lines and apparel, I think it fully respects and fulfills James Naismith (basketball inventor) words: “Be strong in body, clean in mind, lofty in ideals.” And I pay all my respect to that.
That’s how you give everybody a chance. That’s how you build a local hero and children can be inspired. So tell me now: Who got game?
- Tokyo, JAPAN
All pics by
- Niccolò Scelfo
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