Ball Up is one of the leading street-ball brands in the world and is the home to arguably some of the most talented athletes to play the game of basketball. The organization has launched their “Million Dollar Summer Challenge,” a summer-long basketball competition where six U.S. cities have the chance to compete for a total of $1 million with the national champions winning $500 thousand and another $500 thousand throughout the series at each local event.
Being aired on ESPN2 at the beginning of September, Ball Up allows athletes from Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., the opportunity to showcase their talents and show the nation what they have to offer. All of these cities are basketball hotbeds, which may be why they are the prime locations for the tournament.
For the first time being featured in the Ball Up tour schedule, Indianapolis has a chance to showcase the ballers they’ve bred. Ball Up has now finished their tour of Indianapolis though each week has shown intense games heating up with highlights every weekend out. Local Hoosier David Teague, nephew of Shawn Teague the Indianapolis tournament director, lit up the boards, leading the Indianapolis league in points with 26.7.
“Coming into it we had a really good team on paper and were one of the favorites. We’ve been struggling with chemistry and for us our problem has been consistency of players showing up from week to week. Once we have that, we will play with a lot more passion. Guys just have to get in the gym,” said David.
David, being the leading scorer in the Indianapolis area with 26.7 and leading his team in steals, has had to accept the responsibility of being a captain on his team.
“I have to keep playing with that passion and energy. I really just love the game of basketball, I love to compete and I love when the odds are stacked against me. These are the types of moments I live for. I hope that it carries over to the other guys,” said David.
One thing David mentioned about his team’s performance is that if they aren’t playing well on offense, they need to pick up the defensive intensity because the offense will come.
David would go on to win the Regular Season Scoring Champ award with a season high 37 points in week 2.
Director of Indianapolis’ Ball Up Million Dollar Summer Challenge, Shawn, is a native of Indiana and father of NBA athletes Jeff Teague and Marquis Teague. Shawn also played at the University of Missouri and Boston University in the 80s’, but he has now coached in the Indianapolis Public Schools district for the past 20 years.
When asked how he felt about the energy of the crowd from June 7 till now and he responded, “the guys have been playing hard and passionate and I feel like the crowd, some family and friends, really wants to come out and see these guys play.”
NBA All-Star Jeff Teague also made an appearance to the Indianapolis games, where he coached Indiana’s selected Next Up challenge team who competed against Ball Up All-Stars team.
“My father runs the Ball Up here in Indianapolis so I’m looking forward to working with them and if we have the chance to come back here (Indiana) that would be cool,” said Jeff.
Ball Up CEO Demetrius Spencer stopped by for the intense game.
“This event gives players a shot to continue to play basketball especially during the summer time. There are some guys who don’t have anything to do, some play in their own personal leagues but this gives them an opportunity to play nationally. It gives them (fans and players) a safe and fun environment to come out to,” said Spencer.
He added, “We hope to continue to spread our brand next year but our main focus is summertime basketball, but outside our tour I want to have something for other guys to compete in,” when asked about Ball Up expanding to more cities.
The winner of Ball Up’s Indianapolis’ Million Dollar Summer Challenge will go onto Los Angeles to compete in the National playoffs on July 30.
For more information about future dates and events visit Ballupmdsc.com.