Stateline Sports Hour
Thursday, July 31, 2014
ROCKFORD – Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman is taking his free 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament outdoors and moving the competition to Labor Day in hopes of beginning its transformation to a large, Gus Macker-style event.
Boys and girls in 3rd through 8th grades will compete on courts at Davis Park, with the first games tipping off immediately after the Labor Day parade, Stadelman announced at a news conference today. The outdoor location and switch from Saturday of Labor Day weekend to the Monday holiday allows “Senator Stadelman’s HoopStars” to grow in its second year; more than 125 players took part in 2013 on indoor courts at Patriot’s Gateway Center.
“We’re taking HoopStars to the streets in 2014 – not literally, but in the spirit of Gus Macker,” said Stadelman, referring to the popular adult 3-on-3 tournament that took place in the streets of downtown Rockford for many years.
“The tournament’s goal,” he said, “remains the same -- to provide a positive, no-cost activity for our youth, particularly those from low-income families and inner-city neighborhoods. Senator Stadelman’s HoopStars is about the love of the game and kids having a ball.”
Stadelman said the downtown expansion is made possible by new partnerships with the Rockford Park District and Rockford United Labor, which organizes an annual picnic for union members at Davis Park following the Labor Day parade. Families attending the basketball tournament can enjoy live music and kids’ rides at no charge as guests of the labor group. ComEd and Comcast are returning as financial sponsors, and both will operate interactive educational booths during the tournament.
All players will receive free commemorative T-shirts; trophies or medals also will be awarded. Teams of four can register online at: 1) www.senatorstadelmanhoopstars.eventbrite.com; 2) Stadelman’s office in the Zeke Giorgi Center, 200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301, Rockford; or 3) participating community centers. More information is available at www.senatorstadelman.com.