For the 17th straight year, Jamestown is bringing three-on-three basketball to the city's streets.
The third annual Street JAM, presented by The Resource Center, will be taking over portions of Second and Third streets this Saturday and Sunday as teams from around the country converge on downtown Jamestown. Last year, more than 4,000 spectators came to watch the event. Previously, the three-on-three basketball tournament in Jamestown was sanctioned by Gus Macker.
"We're anticipating a wonderful weekend with close to 250 teams and almost 1,000 players that will be coming down to Jamestown and playing competitive three-on-three basketball," said Victoria Trass Bardo, tournament director. "There will be awesome music and good food - it's a day full of family fun in the name of raising money for charity."
Similar to last year, the event will be donating its proceeds to Filling the Gap, an organization that provides support and programs for people living with disabilities in Chautauqua County.
According to Bardo, there will be players in this year's tournament from Florida, California, Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia, Michigan and, of course, Western New York.
"I think a major reason that we're seeing people coming in to town from so far away is because a lot of these athletes have been playing in the three-on-three tournaments in Jamestown since they started 17 years ago," said Bardo. "They come back from wherever they are, whether they've moved away for college, jobs or whatever the reason may be. I've heard a lot of stories about people coming back and having reunions and parties. The players use this as a time to get together and see each other."
Brackets for the tournament are finalized and available on the Street JAM website, www.jamestownstreetjam.net. Registration for players will begin today from 4-7 p.m. indoors at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, and will continue on Saturday from 7-11 a.m. The tournament will officially begin at 8 a.m. when Mark Olson and Greg Krauza welcome the athletes to the event.
At 5:50 p.m. Saturday there will be an exhibition show featuring a team of Special Olympians coached by Dan Neeley, and at 6 p.m. the STREET SLAM slam dunk contest will begin. Games will continue on through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m.
"You're going to see a lot of the same players, but they might get together with a different set of teammates this year," said Bardo. "The younger age groups have seen a lot of growth this year, too, which is funny because we've been doing this tournament for longer than they've been alive."
APG will be providing sound for this years event, which will also utilize some satellite stations for music over the course of the weekend. Alyssa Leathers has been asked to perform the national anthem to kick off the event, and William Van Dyke, a longtime basketball official, will be tossing out the first shot of the tournament. The tournament will also feature exhibition cheerleaders from the DeMarco Sisters School of Dance and WE JAM, a slam dunk contest for children ages 5-12.
New to the three-on-three tournament this year will be the "Bald for Bucks" campaign. On Saturday at 5:30 p.m., Jennifer Peters and Lisa Champlin, employees of The Resource Center, will have their heads shaved. The two have been raising money, which will be divided evenly between the Street JAM and WCA Hospital, where the funds will be used to support local cancer care at the WCA Cancer Treatment Center. Visitors at the Street JAM can also have their head shaved by stylists from Marcel's Hair Salon in front of the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena from noon to 6 p.m. for a $10 donation.
"We encourage everyone that stops by the Street JAM to check out the downtown area, too," said Bardo. "We have a lot of fantastic restaurants and shops in our downtown, and we don't want people to miss out on that."
West Second Street between Jefferson and Washington streets, West Third Street between Monroe and Washington streets and Lafayette Street between Second and Third streets will all be closed beginning at approximately 8 a.m. The streets will reopen on Sunday after the tournament is finished and the equipment has been packed up.
For more information about the third annual Street JAM, visit their website or call the Hoopline at 661-1477.