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WWJD #41: Tracy McGrady Goes One on One With OBL

Franchise Sports Media

 

Tracy McGrady’s Ones Basketball League was a must-see event in Las Vegas. Proving his doubters wrong, McGrady made the first season of the OBL a success on and off the court. On Saturday night, they crowned their champion.

 

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Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

An event as big and bold as the first One’s Basketball League (OBL) National Finals deserved a great ending, and it got just that as John Jordan (Houston) hit a fadeaway two-pointer in overtime to score a 2-1 (8-8 after regulation) victory over George Beamon (Roslyn, NY). Jordan claimed the $250,000 winner-take-all first prize and inaugural title of “Ruler of the Court” at the OBL Finals before more than 1,200 fans at The Dollar Loan Center on Saturday night.

Jordan’s victory is the culmination of the 2022 proof-of-concept season in the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and was created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady. The OBL was McGrady’s brainchild, and it was a smashing success in every city where they held Regional Championships, but it wasn’t a guarantee.

During the 2022 Hashtag Sports Conference, McGrady sat on the stage and told the crowd during a conversation that his relationship with Adidas was “rocky.”

I’ve been with Adidas for 25 years. I think we’re coming to an end,” McGrady told the crowd. “The treatment that I’ve gotten from them over the last ten years – it is what it is. I deserve better. Tweet it. Put it on Instagram. Whatever you want to do, I don’t give a sh-t.

When I started OBL, I was told I couldn’t pull this off by Adidas,” McGrady said. “So, that’s why I feel that way.”

 

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Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

But Adidas was wrong. The OBL brought out basketball players and fans of all ages, ethnicities, and skill levels and created an electric and excellent environment for the family to attend.

In spite of their pessimistic view of OBL, Adidas was a sponsor. But other companies came out of the woodwork to be a part of it and share McGrady’s vision. The place to be in The Dollar Loan Center was the Twenty Grand Vodka Lounge. Located right behind the VIP seating area, the Twenty Grand Vodka Lounge had the best view of the games and was filled with tasty libations and positive energy. SHOWTIME Sports filmed OBL since the regional games and will be doing an upcoming documentary on its success.

Other OBL media partners also included SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions.

There’s a whole scene of untapped talent, and people need to know about these guys—and their skill sets. They come from different backgrounds that tell their stories,” McGrady said.

On Saturday night, they crowned the first ever champion, who walked away a quarter of a million dollars richer. Jordan played college basketball at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi from 2011 to 2015, earning first-team All-Southland honors as a junior and senior. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor earlier this year.

 

Here is how the brackets went down:

 

Quarterfinals

Game 1: #8 Yoshi Craig (Chicago) d. #17 Randy Gill (Los Angeles), 9-2

Game 2: #5 George Beamon (Roslyn, N.Y.) d. Mario Smith (Kalamazoo, Mich), 9-5

Game 3: #6 Kevin Kuteyi (Lanham, Md.) d. #14 Darien Davis (Coram, N.Y.), 9-8

Game 4: #2 John Jordan (Houston) d. #10 Zach Radz (Troy, N.Y.), 9-6

Semifinals

Beamon d. Craig, 4-1

Jordan d. Kuteyi, 9-7

Final

Jordan d. Beamon, 2-1 (OT) (8-8 regulation)

 

It was an epic ending to a fun and thrilling event.

 

WWJD
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Beamon, seeded #5 after winning the OBL Los Angeles Regional, had a chance to win in regulation. After drawing a foul with under 0:10 left, he made the first but missed the second that keeping his lead at 8-7. A Jordan free throw with under a second left tied the game to send it to overtime.

After Beamon took a 1-0 lead (first to two wins), he had one possession in which a single point would have secured the win, but he failed to score. Jordan, who came in as the #2 seed after winning the OBL Houston Regional, hit his game-winner from the left side for the championship.

I had to battle all tournament, with great opponents, especially George in the Finals, and I’m proud to be the first OBL Champion,” said Jordan. “It’s not as much about the money to me, but the respect. I want to thank T-Mac and the OBL for this opportunity.”

What some may not know is Jordan would travel to the other Regional games to scout potential opponents after he won the Houston Regional. He was locked in and determined to win the inaugural OBL championship from the start. Jordan wasn’t into trash-talking opponents or playing things up for the cameras, he was there to hoop and win.

 

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Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

John Jordan is a great champion and the kind of player that the OBL is built for,” said McGrady. “Our goal is to give these overlooked players a platform, and the way he and many others competed throughout the weekend should open plenty of eyes in the basketball world. We couldn’t be happier for John, and we loved the energy these players and the fans brought to the OBL all season long.”

The Finals began on Friday with 22 hopefuls having qualified at six OBL Regional Championships held in Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the DMV, and Los Angeles. Friday’s action eliminated 14 competitors, leaving the quarterfinals, semifinals, and final match on Saturday.

Beamon advanced to the Final with a hard-fought, defensive struggle over Craig, breaking a late 1-1 tie with two baskets and a free throw. Jordan held off a late rally by Kuteyi, then scored the last two points to break a 7-7 tie to win his semifinal matchup.

Winners of each of the six OBL Regional Championships took home a $10,000 first prize. Athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons) were eligible to compete. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under the radar of most basketball fans.

 

Kudos to McGrady for coming up with the idea for an opportunity to change lives. The OBL was a blast to be a part of, and I look forward to its bright future.

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-Joe Arrigo   Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter and Instagram: @JoeArrigoFSM

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