Chicago’s OBL Champion Is From Kalamazoo, Headed To Vegas For Finals
The OBL has been one of the newest sports phenomena in the country this year. OBL is an annual one-on-one basketball league created and directed by former NBA All-star and Hall of Famer, Tracy Mcgrady. In its inaugural year, the OBL has multiple regional tournaments throughout the summer in six different cities, looking to find the best one on one hoopers from different areas in the country, to pit them against each other in a huge neutral-site tournament. Players have the opportunity to win 10,000 in the regional tournaments with a grand prize of $250,000 and the title "Ruler of the Court."
This year the OBL decided to start its season in basketball hotbeds to ensure participation and success. They chose to hold 2-day, 32-player tournaments in Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and The DMV, with the champion, 2nd, and 3rd place from each region moving on to the finals in Las Vegas on July 15th and 16th. The ballers from these cities and even nearby areas showed up and showed out, putting the OBL on the map in its first year.
The Chicago, Illinois tournament took place a little over a month ago and we had Mario Smith(Rio), a former Glen Oaks Community College basketball player and coach, who was born and raised in Kalamazoo make the two-hour trip over to the city to participate in this tournament, in front of Tracy and many other fans. Not only did Rio go and participate as the only one from Michigan, but represented Kalamazoo and the rest of Michigan in the best possible way.
He would play 10 games over two days, considering the tournaments are round-robin knockout tournaments, and would only concede one loss to his fellow opponents. He ended the weekend with a 9-1 record and one of the biggest smiles on his faces. As he traveled back to Kalamazoo with a trophy and $10,000 cash in his pocket, his sights were already fixed upon Vegas, the OBL Finals, winning $250,000, and being the "Ruler of the Court"
The OBL Finals will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, July 15th, and Saturday, July 16th in the Dollar Loan Center. Rio will be ranked 4th among the 32 players in the bracket and tickets are available on their website if you'd like to be there in person. There have been no plans for a live stream or any type of cable coverage, but they do post recap videos on their Vimeo page, including a recap of Rio taking the championship home to Michigan from Chicago.