Ones Basketball League (OBL) -- the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady – got off to a rousing start with its debut event at The Dub Sports Zone in Richmond, Texas, on Saturday and Sunday. A total of 32 top area and national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was Texas residents who took the top three places in a weekend filled with exciting and high-quality play across the board.
The OBL Houston Regional champion, and recipient of the $10,000 prize, is John Jordan, 29, of Houston. Jordan, the second seed, defeated runner-up Matt Kiatipis, 21, of Austin (by way of Canada and Simon Fraser University), 9-5, in the finals. Taking third was Myron Taylor, 29, of Killeen. All three now advance to the OBL Finals in Las Vegas this summer (dates and location TBD).
McGrady couldn’t have been happier with the league’s first action.
“The first weekend in Houston was what we expected when we envisioned OBL,” said the seven-time NBA All-Star. “The level and quality of play was outstanding, the facility was first rate, the production was world-class, and we have our first qualifiers for the road to Las Vegas.
“Now it’s on to Atlanta for Week Two,” he added.
“It's Championship Sunday, this is where champions are made,” said Jordan, who played collegiately at TAMU-Corpus Christi. “I took a tough ‘L’ yesterday and I bounced back, because that's what champions do.”
Jordan, who arrived back in the U.S. from overseas in Romania just in time to compete in the inaugural OBL event, was also effusive in his praise of the league.
“This is a really big-time league,” he added. “This is the first time they've had this league. I know from here on it's gonna be tougher. Everyone sees (OBL) is real. The money is real. I'm just happy I won the first year."
Kiatipis, one of the youngest competitors in the field, is also excited about qualifying for the OBL Finals.
“I’m excited to be going to Las Vegas,” said the sixth seed who started slowly but finished strong to earn the spot. “I expected to be going and it's going to be a big show out there.”
Taylor, the eighth seed, rallied to beat Jamal North in the third-place game.
OBL’s next regional event is this coming week in Atlanta on May 7-8 at CORE4 Atlanta, in Chamblee, Georgia.
The rest of the regional schedule is as follows:
• Chicago, May 21-22 (Chicago Hope Academy Athletic Center, Chicago, IL)
• New York City, May 28-29 (Major R. Owens Community Center hosted by New Heights, Brooklyn, NY)
• The DMV, June 4-5 (The St. James, Springfield, VA)
• The Bay Area, June 11-12 (The Ultimate Fieldhouse, Walnut Creek, CA)
• Los Angeles, TBD (TBD)
The winner of each regional tournament will take home a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will see 21 players (the top three from each region) compete for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned "Ruler of the Court.”
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Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.