Probably the biggest outdoor basketball tournament in Japan is the All-Day tourney, sponsored by Nike. The 1st one I played in back in March sometime. The scenario was less than optimal, as I was slated to play with a team that last it's 1st game, hence preventing me from joining them on day 2 (when I had the day off.) As it turned out, a youngin asked me to run with him and his boys the night before and I accepted. We faced an early exit, as we ran into the eventual champions "Underdog" in our 1st game.
As the days turned to weeks turned to months, I amassed a good number of basketball friends by way of 'gettin it in' at every open run I could get to. As the 2nd All-Day approached, I received a few different invitations to run. After some intense deliberation, I decided my 1st choice was to join "Underdog" the very team I'd lost to that went on to claim the title in the last tournament. I'd much rather beat em than join em, however, in this case, Underdog's roster consisted of all the fellas I'd gotten to know well by way of the Rising Suns experience.
The guys were gracious enough to offer me a spot, so we laced em up, and got it on! Our opening game was versus a squad called 1st step. Apparently they had 3 or 4 guys on their roster that play/ed pro ball out here. If that's the case, we all should've been offered contracts when it was said and done, cause they never really contested us. I think we bounced em by double digits.
Game two~ The Semis of the tournament (we had a 1st day bye on account of being the previous champs) matched us up with a team called 420. Which is absolutely hilarious because ganja is HIGHLY illegal out here. As in you can get 5 years for a spliff.
Anyhow, we went ahead by about 9 or so on em with about 5 minutes left in the game. But they mounted a comeback and got it down to a one point game with about 40 seconds left. We were at the line shooting 1 and 1. I snatched up the miss and threw it out to our point guard, who proceeded to throw a cross court pass that sailed a good 5 feet over our player's head. TURNOVER.
There was about 20 seconds left when they came down court, penetrated, shot a jumper. And that's when my biggest moment of the tournament came as I outjumped 4 others to come down with the rebound. They fouled, we converted, game over!
Honestly, I didn't really contribute much to our teams' success throughout the tournament, but like my daddy used to tell me, "Just be there when I need you!"
We ended up manhandling a team called Proline in the finals. Winning by about 15 or so. My man, ST was the MVP. And Each of us got a free pair of kicks for bringing home the title!
I've been in this country 9 months, and I've already got 2 new pairs of shoes from hooping. Why can't life always be like this!!
Pictures can be found at http://alldaymag.com/photo_gallery/19th-allday-photos-day2-part2.html