Off-season activities for the basketball-obsessed
Despite the excitement inherent in every NBA season, the end of the playoffs often bring a sense of emptiness, as basketball fans wait endlessly for the next season to begin. Summertime and the NBA off-season have traditionally signaled the start of streetball season, as players take to the blacktops for some action. In recent years however, there has been an avalanche of organized tournaments for even the most obsessed fans to satiate their basketball cravings.
WNBA: If you are looking for the top female basketball league in the world, you have come to the right place. This season promises even more excitement than ever, as the Seattle Storm looks to defend their title after finally breaking the Lynx-Sparks stranglehold. Led by their youthful MVP Breanna Stewart, the Storm will do battle against a host of rivals such as the resurgent Connecticut Sun and the reloaded Las Vegas Aces with their latest acquisition, the unstoppable Liz Cambage.
The Basketball Tournament: This winner-takes-all knockout competition was started in 2014, with prize money ballooning from US$500,000 back then to US$2 million. With ESPN holding exclusive broadcasting rights and the innovative Elam Ending format, which ensures that every game has to end on a game-winner, this season features even more NBA players and former collegiate standouts, hoping to halt the fearsome Overseas Elite team from achieving a five-peat with new additions Bobby Brown and Jeremy Pargo.
BIG3: Started by the famed entertainer Ice Cube, this 3-on-3 competition was billed as a second chance to see your favorite retired NBA players in action, from the ageless Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (still dominant at 50 years of age) to the endlessly energetic Nate Robinson. Every year brings a new slew of new stars, with even the world’s number one ranked FIBA 3x3 player (Dusan Bulut) joining the action this time around.
FIBA Basketball World Cup: Due to a scheduling change, the 18th edition of the tournament will be held this off-season (instead of last year). With China hosting the competition and an extended field of 32 teams, up from the usual 24, fans are expecting intense action as each nation challenges Team USA’s traditional dominance on the international stage, with most teams likely to feature a number of NBA players on their rosters.