The Other Guys
A preview of the 2012 BallisLife All-American Game.
by Stephanie Mejia / @Smejia_
Just a short year ago, BallisLife (BIL) was working on the final touches for their first BallisLife All-American game. With the lack of a West Coast presence in the McDonald’s & Jordan Brand rosters, BIL quickly scattered to put together a game within a few weeks. It was a game put into action for the players that have worked and competed just as hard as their peers and deserved to be congratulated and selected to participate in an All-American game. Any All-American game is one that the players will forever remember as it is the exclamation point for their last year of high school basketball.
For the second year in a row, BallisLife has once again put together a game. With their experience from last year, BIL is preparing for an even stronger production this upcoming weekend thanks to a few minor changes. As opposed to last year, the game will take place at Hope International University located in Fullerton. “There is nothing wrong with Cal State Fullerton; the only issue is it’s so big, says BallisLife owner Matt Rodriguez. “Our mindset is that if we are able to pack up the gym, the atmosphere of the game can and will be so much better. So the change of venue is to give the crowd a better feel and experience for the game as well as for the players.”
No great product is ever put together alone. BallisLife will be working in conjunction with a few companies that will be sponsoring the event. Deuce Brand, a San Diego based sports wristwatch company, will be sponsoring the Slam Dunk and 3-Point contest on Friday, April 6. In addition, Deuce Brand is exclusively producing a BallisLife watch for the event.
Kenny “KD” Dobbs, the renowned slam dunk champ, will be displaying his latest creative dunks at the anticipated dunk contest. Powerade is another contributor, and they will be giving away products throughout the two days of the event. Along with Deuce Brand and Powerade, Under Armour will be providing jerseys and sneakers amongst other gear. AMP radio and the Sexy Burger Food Truck, will also be extending their assistance.
And last, but certainly not least, recently signed Aftermath/Interscope and West Coast Hip-Hop artist, Kendrick Lamar will be a special guest and performing at halftime April 7, while fellow West Coast artists Mann and Problem will be performing April 6. With all of these special guests and sponsors, the BallisLife All-American Game will be coming alive once again.
“Naturally, expectations for this game are a bit higher,” says Rodriguez. “Our goal is to make this the premiere event on the West Coast with the hope to give back not just to the fans, but to the players as well. The players work so hard throughout the year, and the invited players may not have been selected for other events so we feel we can create something for them here on the West Coast. In essence, give them something to looking forward to and cap off their senior year.”
The players have been broken down into the following two teams:
Team 1: Gabe York, Charles Hill, Ben Carter, Dominic Artis, Nick Stover, Matt Shrigley, Ricardo Gathers, Anthony January, Xavier Johnson, Jordan Loveridge, Skylar Spencer.
Team 2: Katin Reinhardt, Tyrone Wallace, Victor Robbins, Jordan Adams, Glenn Robinson III, Langston Morris-Walker, Rosco Allen, Prince Ibeh, Demetris Morant, Zena Edosomwan, Torian Graham.
The teams are a group of highly competitive and relentless players making the game a must-see.
“It’s going to be a good game with good players and high level competition,” says an excited Dominic Artis, an Oregon commit. “Last year, Jabari [Brown] participated in the game, and he said he enjoyed the experience so I’m looking forward to it.”
Ricardo Gathers, Baylor commit, adds, “It’s an honor to be able to play in All-American game, and I want to thank BallisLife for the opportunity. Most of the players in the game are from the West Coast, and I am from the South—New Orleans to be exact—so to be able to play in this game, that’s big to me. I believe it’s going to be a highlight showcase with major guard play and lobs going on.”
To the players, in the words of Kendrick Lamar, “It’s not about who is the dopest, but who wants it the most so just go out and get it.”
If you’re in the area, definitely come out and support. It will be an experience for everyone present.
The BallisLife All-American game will take place April 6 and 7 with the skills challenge the 6th and the game the 7th at Hope International University. For more information and updates, visit ballislifeallamerican.com and follow them on Twitter @BallisLife. For a video preview, see SLAMonline’s post here. BallisLife has done it once again.