Nearly 50 Special Olympics Southern California athletes will be among the thousands of basketball players flocking to the streets of downtown Los Angeles for the Nike 3-on-3 at L.A. Live on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5 and 6.
The street basketball tournament, which started in 2009, turns L.A. Live into a giant playground with approximately 100 courts and features more than 1,500 teams, 5,000 players and 25,000 spectators from around the country.
Nike’s 3-on-3 event promotes inclusion with Special Olympics and wheelchair divisions, and Joseph Gorin is happy to return and be treated like the rest of the participants.
“It’s a great, fun event,” he said. “Last year we were invited to play on the main court. It was the greatest thing on Earth.”
Added his mother, Special Olympics Orange County coach Ticky Gorin: “It is big. Usually, we’re trying to bring the community to us. By including Special Olympics, we’re being treated the same. [The athletes are] so proud to say we’re going to play in the Nike 3-on-3.”
The 12 Special Olympics teams are made up of:
|Garden Grove Rebels||Cody Nicholson, Kenny Meza, Joe Hreish and Michael Pham|
|Sky’s the Limit||David Guzman, Ruben Lurma and Frank Guzman|
|Hawks||Max Grasso, Alex Hunt, Spencer Van Duzer and Sean Campbell|
|Hawks II||Joseph Gorin, Tom Tabacchi, Skyler Ludin and Michael Lopez|
|Hawks III||Joey Barraza, Jose Fernandez, Shane Cline and Trevor Minnis|
|Hawks IV (co-ed)||Monique Oropeza, Adam Hogan, John King and Bryce Hicks|
|Central Riverside||Dorcell Hogan, Oscar Gutierrez, Mark Hyde and Richard Wallace|
|Anaheim Panthers||Richard Angeleas, Romales Allen, Chris Johns and Carlos Johnson|
|Panthers Two||Tyler Gordon, Barnard Grays, Jesus Gonzalez and David Brown|
|Panthers Three||Alejandro Bustos, Joshua Lopez, Bruce Vertrees and Ryan Lopes|
|Riverside Slamers||Michael Albert, Mason Anderson, Ted Leonard and Tramond Willerson|
|Riverside Smash (co-ed)||James Vance, Matthew West, Kiana Buffington and Joe Stewart|
Other divisions range from youth (8 and 9 years old), senior youth (10-12 years old), teens (13-19), adults (20 and over) and elite (18 and over). Divisions also include male, female and mixed gender teams.
A celebrity basketball game, presented by iHeartMedia Los Angeles and radio station Real 92.3, will start the festivities on Aug. 4 at Microsoft Square. The celebrity game will benefit DJ Damage’s nonprofit, Follow the Dream Foundation.
Attendees are encouraged to use the West Garage (Lot W, Gate B, enter on Chick Hearn Court) if staying for more than 3 1/2 hours. A flat rate ranging from $10-$30 (depending on event) is payable upon entrance. Attendees parking in the West Garage can stay as late as they wish without parking validation.
For visitors staying two hours or less, the East Garage (Lot E, enter on Olympic Boulevard) or West Garage (Lot W, Gates E and F, enter on Georgia St. and turn on West Road) are available. Some establishments at L.A. Live validate parking.