TSL Presents: Behind The Scenes At The 2018 Red Bull Reign Tournament

    During the month of September, the worlds greatest streetballers descended upon Southeast D.C. to crown and see who the best of the best is.

    Red Bull Reigns 3 on 3 basketball tournament featured teams (both male international and female nation ) from 16 countries that wanted to test their mettle for pride and money 

    The Shadow League was in the building where we saw the mens finals where Team Chicago represented Team USA, vs the World Champ, Montenegro. It was streetball at its finest. 

    In its second year in partnership with the Goodman League and hosted by its Commissioner Miles Rawls (along with NYC hoops legend, Bobbito Garcia), Team USA, hailing from Chicago, scored the max 21 points in all eighteen games they played. 

    TSL sat down with a few ballers to get their thoughts on why basketball, like music and like food, is their universal language.  

    Team USA/ Team Chicago Champ, Jamel Staten on demolishing field on an international level.

    Jamel: Its always fun when youre playing with many different countries at once. And then we have about what – 16 different nationalities here in the gym? Everybody here is all on one accord and its all basketball. Im just happy and blessed that I was apart of it. 

    The NYC Womens team,  Aysha Williams, Angela Pace, and Nya Williams on 3 on 3 strategies, team trust, and learning from their opponents.

    Aysha: Getting to know some people from different colleges that we played against while seeing people from different countries compete is always awesome. We shake their hands and communicate with them on and off the court. 

    Angela: I mean for us it was like an hour flight, for other people it was like 16 hours to get here, people from South Africa are here. Thats a lot to sacrifice.  

    We learned a lot from the mens Chicago 3 on 3 team. Were used to playing 5 man games for the last maybe six years together. To come here to DC and play 3 on 3 is a totally different mindset since its all about scoring. We know we could beat any time out here but its different when youre playing a team thats tough. You might beat them by one point, but the next game they get 18. It totally changes your mentality. 

    Naya:  It makes you work harder because you know that if you burned on defense then your team is exposed. Youre leaving your team out to dry.  The little things you normally dont think about with 5 on 5, like getting a rebound, missing a shot matter, because someone has your back. In a 3 man game, you need to hit those twos and free throws. And if youre not scoring, youre wasting your time. Every time somebody argues, thats wasting time. Its about points. We cant afford to argue, because its all about points. 

    The DMV Womens team captain and stateside champion Stadia Doyle on the tools needed for victory in 3 on 3 and why sports and music go hand in hand.

    Stadia: The team that we played to win it all represented Atlanta and it was very physical. From the first foul I was like Oh! Ok. The dynamics have changed because you now know the money is on the line. The biggest difference was, like I said, the aggression. From start to finish. For ten full minutes.  And to be honest with you, thats what I expected. 

    Unlike my teammates, I wasnt surprised at all.  In 3 on 3, its too hard to hide offensively or defensively. And we all played together for the Maryland Jewels outside of the league. So walking away from this tournament with a victory in our backyard is something else. 

    Sports is like music it is universal. So we might not speak the same language but a handshake here, a touching someone to know that I apologize for that hard foul, it wasnt anything personal I just didnt want to you to score. That is a universal language. Its all about respect, getting buckets and then after it’s over its like I took my L on to the next and hopefully next time Im getting a dub. 

    Kyle Harvey is a writer, producer and the current managing editor of The Shadow League. Host of the Points On The Board podcast, and a proudly washed college athlete, Harvey had previous stints at Slant News, The Bleacher Report, NBC News, and theGrio. Originally from Wilmington, DE, Harvey graduated from North Carolina A&T State University.