Anybody who talks to me at all during the months of April-July probably knows about “The Basketball Tournament.” Now in its third year, “TBT” is a winner-take-all basketball tournament that is open to literally anybody.
Two friends of mine and myself joined TBT in 2014 when the field was just 32 teams and the grand prize was only $500,000. In two years, its grown to a grand prize of $2 million, a field of 64 teams and a championship game live on ESPN.
While I GM a team (Eberlein Drive) that participates in TBT, I’m not here to beg or plead for votes (although I won’t say no to those that vote for us), I’m here to talk about why TBT is the greatest kind of sports tournament out there today.
To start off, there’s literally no downside to signing up. Over the past two years, my team and I have traveled to Philadelphia and Chicago to play games, and the only thing we’ve ever had to pay for is hotel rooms. Team jerseys, team socks and our team logo were all supplied for absolutely free.
On top of that, TBT supplies an opportunity for me and my friends to potentially play on ESPN and win $2 million. While we don’t necessarily have the skill to win it all (which is why we recruit professionals), the fact that we are given that opportunity isn’t comparable to anything else in sports right now.
The playing field is leveled even more when it comes to how the teams in TBT are selected. The field for TBT is decided on by the fans. Every year, there’s a two-month voting period in which fans can log on to TBT’s website and vote for which teams they want to see play. Even if a team with no talent whatsoever, such as my team in 2014, wanted to play, we would be admitted into TBT as long as we got the support from our fans.
Ultimately, the teams with the most talent are usually the ones that walk away with the title. In 2014, a team of Notre Dame alumni won the championship and in 2015, a team of Overseas Professional that included the top scorer in the entire world (Erick McCollum), won the title.
This year, the competition is as tough as ever and the number of alumni teams is at an all-time high. To name some of the bigger names, Syracuse University, Kansas State University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Utah all have entered alumni teams to compete in TBT 2016.
The registration and voting just opened and there’s bound to be plenty of more intriguing teams and players to hop in on the action in the coming weeks. If you’re any sort of basketball fan, you wont want to miss out on the most exciting basketball of the summer. TBT is back, and it’s as exciting as ever.