StreetBall took to the streets of downtown Neenah over the weekend. For the 22nd year in a row, the event proved a remarkable success.
The 3-on-3 basketball tournament has been a mainstay in the city as a result of Future Neenah, Inc. The nonprofit organization founded StreetBall in 1992 with the hope that it would help promote their vision of economic and cultural diversity in Neenah.
That goal is now a reality, as 10,000-plus people attend the tournament each year — many being casual spectators from the local area. “This is a unique event and the community has embraced it,” says Pamela Barnes, Future Neenah events coordinator. All of this support has allowed the event to thrive for more than two decades, and the seven brackets in this year’s competition are a testament to player interest.
More than one hundred teams occupied 23 courts as play began on Saturday morning. Certainly, the sheer magnitude of the event is enough to pique the interest of anyone in the Fox Valley.
Court eight provided many of the fireworks on Saturday with the Top Men’s bracket and “MadSkillz” contest. The Top Men’s bracket featured players with collegiate-level experience, giving spectators an opportunity to watch some of the best athletes in the Fox Valley compete. These same athletes even had a chance to show off their high-flying capabilities in the “MadSkillz” competition. Kalib Kimbrough took first place with his gravity-defying dunks, followed by former University of Mary standout, Anthony Moody.
Sportsmanship, however, was the name of the game this weekend. Bergstrom Automotive captain, Tyler Berenz, cites the “team play” and “competition” as the reason he has played Neenah StreetBall for the last three years. His sentiment also extended to the referees, who are active during each game of the tournament and are responsible for encouraging a safe and most importantly, fun experience for everyone involved.
The activity court on Commercial Street made for an excellent experience for children as well. From the “Little Tykes Contest” to the “Shoot 3 for a T” event, the weekend offered fun and friendly competition. These events, along with the photo booth available all weekend, speak to Future Neenah’s willingness to accommodate people of all ages.
StreetBall’s 28 sponsors were once again responsible for the event’s success. Bergstrom GM of Neenah promoted their “Shot for a Car Contest,” while BioLife Plasma Services, Capital Credit Union and many others served as court sponsors. In StreetBall’s 22-year history, more than $175,000 has been donated to nonprofit organizations, a testament to the sponsors’ dedication and StreetBall’s impact on the greater Neenah community.
— By Reid Trier