WASHINGTON — For most sports fans, a Red Bull sponsorship of an event probably evokes the idea of adrenaline-fueled extreme sports. The brand has its name on everything from the somewhat absurd Flugtag events to the Red Bull RallyCross that has come to RFK the past few years. But one probably doesn’t think about basketball.
And yet, that’s exactly what took place at Barry Farm in Anacostia recently, where the Red Bull Reign 3-on-3 basketball world championship was held. Unlike a lot of sports events, the moniker actually held true. There were teams not just from all over the United States, but from 11 other countries: Argentina, Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Kuwait, Montenegro, Netherlands, Philippines, Serbia, South Korea, and Turkey, all competing for the crown.
That field was winnowed from 480 teams competing in qualifiers all over the world, drawing more than 2,000 athletes. It all culminated in the finals on the Goodman League’s home court, recently redesigned by local artists No Kings Collective.
The George Goodman Basketball League has been in existence for thirty-six years. The league began in 1975 with the assistance of Mr. Ervin Brady, Mr. Carlton Reed and Mr. Morty Hammonds. The league was first titled the Barry Farms Community Basketball League. The name was then changed to the Goodman League in the early 1980′s in honor of the late George Goodman. Mr. Goodman was a life long Barry Farms resident and a community leader. The league is extremely popular throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area. The league attracts hundreds of fans. Six days a week games are played throughout the summer. The league begins in June and runs through August. The games are played at the Barry Farms Dwellings basketball courts located at Firth Sterling ave in South East Washington, D.C. The league features current and former NBA players, college players, high school players and participants from various communities and other states. The league is currently headed by Miles Rawls, Commissioner and play-by-play commentator. The league is nick named “The Gates” or “The Farms”. . 🗺️: Firth Sterling ave SE DC 📸: @gfbasketball . . #washingtondc #dc #southeast #redbullreign #goodmanleague #barryfarm #basketball #redbull #nokingscollective #acreativedc #bythings #igdc #madeindc #hypebeast @hypebeast #complex @complex @complexart #hypecourts @hypecourts #nike @nike #nikebasketball @nikebasketball #art #streetart #mural #design
“This is a major event and I’m thankful that we brought it to this side of town. They normally play tournaments like this at convention centers and downtown, so it’s very special that this event was brought to the heart of the Southeast,” said Miles Rawls, Commissioner of the Goodman League. “With D.C. winning it all, that’s just the icing on the cake. I’m going to remember this tournament for the rest of my life.”
If any aspect of the event seemed to fit the traditional Red Bull brand, it was the frenetic pace of the games themselves. Operating two at a time on opposite ends of the court, they’re just eight minutes long, or played until a team reaches 21 points, by ones and twos. After each made basket, the opposite team doesn’t check the ball up top, but can immediately pass or dribble out to set up their offense. Also, wins and losses don’t really matter — it’s all about how many points you accumulate over the course of your matchups, so offense is always at a premium.
For the teams that have mastered the format, this often means rather than contesting a one-point layup once a ball handler beats them off the dribble, they instead immediately swing out to the arc to await a pass for an open two-point shot. The Cleveland team seems to have the best understanding of the mechanics and the optimized roster to execute them, with a collection of early 20-something former college players. They dominated most of the first day, but in the end, the D.C. Showstoppers team best them to win the U.S. Championship in front of the home crowd.
That squad of Goodman League regulars Jamahl Brown, Nate Flowers, Chris Howard and Jeff Allen went on to win the international final, as well, the next day, enduring more than 20 games over the two-day event to protect their home court and emerge as champions.
“The Red Bull Reign hosted a remarkable tournament partnered with the Goodman League,” said Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White, Sr. in an email. “It was a great opportunity to display local talent.”
In addition to shining a spotlight on a D.C. tradition that has existed for decades and on a side of town that rarely gets it, the tournament also left behind a renovated court and the hope that it might draw similar events down the line.
“The community would very much like to see more events like this in the future,” said White.