1973 : Gus Macker 3-on-3 Tournament Born in Lowell, Michigan

July 11, 2018 all-day

Gus Macker is THE godfather of street basketball.

A table of Gus Macker trophies.

“No, no, the curb’s out. The tape don’t mean nothin’.” -Player in the 1985 tournament, and probably someone you’re related to, if you’re from Michigan.

Gus Macker 1974

For the first 13 years it was a single tournament started by a pair of brothers and their friends in Lowell, Michigan, in 1974, but became a festival phenomenon and America’s Original 3-on-3 Basketball Tour in 1987.

Now 45 years later (2018) there have been 1,421 sanctioned Gus Macker Tournaments presented for over 670,800 teams or almost 2.7 million players and played in front of over 27.5 million spectators.

Teams are computer-matched into male and female divisions in one of three categories: Junior, Adult, or Top. The age, height and experience of all four players on each team are considered in bracketing.

Teams receive at least three scheduled games each tournament. A Macker is a double-elimination tournament, but with a consolation bracket historically called “The Toilet Bowl” for teams that lose the first two games.

Our modern tournaments maintain order in almost all cases with registered officials calling fouls and violations.

Family fun in a festival atmosphere is always the goal of a Gus Macker Tournament,

Gus Macker Tourney

There’s an awesome Sports Illustrated article in their vault, complete with a rap from a player:

I never really knew what basketball meant
’til I went to the Gus Macker tournament
It was lotsa people from different races
And everywhere ya looked there were smilin’ faces
And the only thing that coulda brought ’em all together
Was a li’l ball, made of leather.

-Robert S “I put the rap in Grand Rapids”, 1985

Hopefully, every alumni has a classic t-shirt:

You can still order one if you so desire.

For more information about events, sign-up, or to schedule a tournament, visit the Gus Macker website.

Reposted from Will “The Tape Don’t Mean Nothin'” Wannabe Macker, “Gus Macker: WE GOT NEXT!”, Mitten State Blog, July 11, 2018.