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Jordan Brand Classic 2017

No Sleep Till Brooklyn...

  • Location: Brooklyn, USA

Since being selected as the Jordan Brand Classic MVP’s in Barcelona, Europe’s finest have been eagerly anticipating arriving in Brooklyn, New York City. The Mecca of Basketball.

The birth place of Michael Jordan, and the home to some of the most iconic street courts in the world, basketball is truly engrained in the history of Brooklyn. As soon as Pro:Direct Hoops arrived in town we hit up Brooklyn Bridge Park to check the courts and the stunning Manhattan skyline backdrop.

Many a playground legend have pounded the blacktop out here, honing their skills and putting in the hours of work that makes greatness. The courts were packed out with 7 or 8 pick up games in full flow. If you ever find yourself in Brooklyn and want to hit the courts - make sure you bring your A game.

Want the latest Jordan Brand gear? Check it out

When the Jordan Brand Classic roles in to town, you know about it. From billboards in Times Square to a host of celebrities sitting courtside at the game. The JBC is now a major event on the basketball calendar, and a chance to check out the next generation of superstars.

The event features four games back to back, the All-American Boys game featuring the best High School Players in the country, an All-American Girls game, a regional All Star game and the Global Showcase.

Pro:Direct Hoops was given full access to those selected to compete in the Global Showcase. We followed their journey from the moment they arrived in NYC, to the last shot in the Barclays Centre. The ten European MVP’s from Barcelona were joined together with the best players from Africa, South America and Canada to form two teams that would go head to head in an NBA arena.

I’m different. I do something different from the regular athlete and regular people. I describe myself as a gladiator. I overcome struggle, I overcome failure to be successful.

Bismack Biyombo - Orlando Magic

When you’re rolling with Jordan Brand, you know to expect the best hook ups around. Once the squad arrived they were kitted out with the latest Jordan gear, everything you could possibly need to be game ready. The kicks of choice? The CP3.X and the Melo M13 in either blue or red depending on which squad you were representing.

Jordan Brand had set the squad up with a complete basketball dream experience for their time in Brooklyn. They were taken on a behind the scenes tour of Madison Square Garden and even got to train at the Brooklyn Nets’ HSS Training Centre, simply one of the best workout facilities in the whole of the NBA.

The home of the Nets’ on 39th Street is an 8 floor warehouse, completely repurposed in to an elite training and development centre. The gym has two full-sized basketball courts, lined on either side by a wall of 16-foot windows, offering up a panorama of Brooklyn, lower Manhattan and New Jersey. Not a bad place to be working out every day!

After the first training session it was clear to see the coaches wanted complete focus from the squad. They may have been selected for this showcase event, but there was a game to be played and nobody wanted to go home a loser.

With just two training sessions before the game at the Barclays, every play counts. This was a chance to show the watching NBA scouts and US media that the game is bigger than ever outside the USA and the rest of the world can really play.

One example of International success is Orlando Magic power forward Bismack Biyombo. Originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Biyomobo has propelled himself all the way to the NBA. Heading in to his 7th season in the league, Biyombo sat down with the International squad to share his knowledge and experience about being a success in the toughest league in the world.

It was actually a similar event to the JBC where Bismack burst on to the scene. An unknown pick for the Nike Hoop Summit, he was expected to play minimal minutes, but it became the turning point in his career.

Biyomobo had one of the biggest games of his life, picking up a triple double, the first in Hoop Summit history and earning himself an NBA contract with the Charlotte Hornets for the upcoming season.

Look out for the THE CUT w/ Bismack Biyombo dropping soon on YouTube for the full story.

With game day just around the corner there was time for one more special event for the squad. A players only dinner at the mysterious Terminal 23 in downtown New York.

Often referred to as Carmelo Anthony’s personal gym, T23 is one of the most unique basketball settings in the whole country. Over the years we’ve seen footage of the likes of Melo, KD and other NBA players hitting the floor and putting on a show in this unique Jumpman inspired court.

Access to the venue is extremely tight, so to be on court being served a Michael Jordan inspired menu featuring Brooklyn Pizza, Fried Chicken and more was a unique privilege.

Playing in an NBA arena is what every kid dreams of. The Barclay’s Centre is one of the finest arenas in the whole league and for the Global Showcase squad, their dreams were about to become a reality.

After a shoot around session to get a feel for the floor, it was time to ball out and show the watching audience exactly why they had been selected for this prestigious occasion.

With many future international NBA Draft prospects on show, there was huge attention to see who would shine under the spotlight.

The Blue Team exploded to a 29-16 lead at the end of the first, with Addison Patterson of Canada running the point and showing exactly why he’s name to remember.

As the game progressed both sides had their moments with plenty of highlights for the watching audience. Ultimately the Blue Team were too strong and powered their way to a 126 - 83 victory over the Reds. Patterson picking up 25 points and the Blue Team MVP, whilst French star Kilian Hayes picked up the Red Team MVP after an impressive showing in the back court.

With business matters completed it was time for the International players to enjoy the occasion. The chance to watch the All-American Game and then an epic post-game party featuring performances from A Boogie wit da Hoodie and The Boss himself, Rick Ross.

The JBC 2017 was an absolute smash, and certainly an experience that these players, and Pro:Direct Hoops will never forget. Huge shout out to Jordan Brand for the access, and make sure you look out for our full JBC: Access All Areas video dropping next week.

Until next time...

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