Sun Soaks Courts As Gus Macker Kicks Off In Jamestown

The Gus Macker Tournament kicked off Saturday in downtown Jamestown. The 3-0n-3 tournament ends Sunday. P-J photo by Damian Sebouhian

Participants in Jamestown’s resurrected Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament could not have asked for a more ideal, sunshiny day Saturday to kick off a weekend of thrilling and fun competitive hoops.

Roughly 200 teams entered the tournament, representing male and female players of all skill levels from around Western New York and Pennsylvania, ranging in ages from just under 10 to well over 35.

With a historic NBA Trilogy Finals serving as the backdrop for the local event, players have the opportunity to emulate their favorite all-stars, from Stephen Curry to Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant to LeBron James. Other creative team names include “#Givinubuckets,” “Rise Up,” “Ballerz in Progress,” “Angry Ants,” “Last Second Shooter,” “Cookies and Cream,” “All the King’s Men” and “Lemme Find Out.”

“We have 19 different courts and they’re all broken down by age groups,” said Joe Fox, a native of Greenville, Michigan, who has been working as tournament manager with Gus Macker for 10 years. “The youngest court is 10 and under and the oldest court is 35 and over. Each court is a unique bracket, so we have 19 sets of first-place trophies.”

The trophies will be awarded late this afternoon after the conclusion of the tournament, which is being held downtown on Second and Third streets between Washington and Monroe.

Jamestown began the Gus Macker tournament tradition in 1997, with The Resource Center hosting the event for nearly two decades. After dropping the Gus Macker affiliation four years ago, the Resource Center ran its own tournament called Street Jam.

With no scheduled tournament this year, Michael Bird, publisher of The Post-Journal, was able to team up with the Media One group, the Dunkirk Observer and the Times Observer of Warren, Pa., to fill the tournament void and bring Gus Macker back to Jamestown.

“I’ve participated in it for a long time,” Bird said. “I thought it was special and I knew who to contact and I knew (Gus Macker) would want to come back. People love to play in it. There’s a lot of excitement and it brings a lot of good vibes to Downtown Jamestown.”

Gus Macker originated in Michigan in 1987 and currently holds 972 tournaments nationwide with over 2.2 million participants. The organization estimates that since 1987 its tournaments have raised approximately $15,000,000 in charitable funds.

Part of the proceeds from this year’s Jamestown tournament will go to the Alex Foulk Fund. The fund was started by Foulk’s mother Kim Carlson, founder of A Fresh Start, a non-profit addiction support group.

“When we start talking about addiction and how we can help people by giving them support and encouragement, it makes it easier for them to find the help that they need,” said Carlson, who is on-hand during the weekend event at a booth to distribute information about her organization.

Markell Carter, left, and teammate Justin Carlson pose for a photograph Saturday.