ATLANTA — At Converse's second Band of Ballers basketball tournament on Saturday, the musical lineup boasted a variety of acts, from rock to hip-hop. But the action during the two-loss elimination tourney, held at Clark Atlanta University, was primarily on the court. Teams were pitted against one another in three-on-three games. Last year's event saw Jim Jones and his "Jones Family" squad taking the trophy, and this year, Jones was confident his team would reclaim the prize.
"I've been poppin' a lot of sh--, so I have a lot to lose, way more than anybody else," Jones admitted. "Everywhere we [go, we] make home. Where I lay my hat is my home. You ain't heard that song before? It's my house," the Dipset MC taunted. "We don't have no competition. We just run through and we skatin' on them, just like we did last year."
Jones' team definitely suffered from a home-court disadvantage, however. Four of the seven teams represented either Atlanta or Georgia: Jermaine Dupri's So So Def Family; a punk outfit, the Black Lips; Southern Hospitality's Pill, OJ Da Juiceman and Shawty Lo, and Athens-based rockers Of Montreal were all looking to dethrone the Jones Family. Other teams included the mash-up squad Bad News, which was made up of Jay Electronica, Sean Price and Donnis, and the Jersey indie-rock band Steel Train.
Dupri said he was out to make sure one of the teams from Atlanta won.
"I keep hearing Jim Jones talking about [his team], but is he playing in the game? That's all I want to know. If he ain't playing in the game then all that talk, all of that talk doesn't mean nothing, because I'm playing. I'm suited and booted and ready to go."
Jones and Dupri were constantly in each other's faces, verbally sparring. And while Jones, joined by his surprise teammate Cam'ron did, in fact, hit the court — Dupri never did. Both Jones' and Dupri's teams established themselves early on as tournament favorites, with Southern Hospitality rounding out the top three. They made quick work of the other crews, though Steel Train put up an impressive fight.
Southern Hospitality eventually knocked the So So Def Family from the semi-finals, setting up a finals showdown between SH and the Jones Family. Jones' team had earned a bye into the finals, thanks to its undefeated status through the earlier rounds. And despite Southern Hospitality's best efforts, Jim Jones was able to etch his name onto the trophy for another year. Crowned champion once again, Jones wasn't any more humble than he'd been after the first win.
"They better bring some real basketball players out, because I'm tired of coming down here, wasting my time, thinking we're going to play some people that know how to play basketball," a triumphant Jones said.
Were you surprised the South didn't pull out a win at this year's Converse tourney? Tell us in the comments!