The Basketball Tournament

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Have you heard about the basketball tournament where the winning team gets $500,000?

The Basketball Tournament is a 32-team five-on-five single-elimination tournament with a $500,000 winner-take-all prize. Perhaps you read about this brilliant idea several months ago on Grantland when the teams were still being formulated. Anyone who was a legal U.S. resident, 18 years or older who was willing to forego his or her amateur status, was eligible to play. Contractual rules prohibited current NBA players from entering the tournament. Teams can have anywhere from seven to ten players and must also have a "general manager" who selects players, manages the team and recruits "fans." Those fans are eligible to win prizes that include a $25,000 cash prize, a trip for 10 to Las Vegas, and a trip for two to The Basketball Tournament championship.

The 32-team tournament consists of the 24 teams with the most "fans" as well as the additional eight teams which the tournament committee selected, provided they had at least 100 fans. This helped ensure that the committee would have at least some say in who was in the tournament. The four teams with the most fans will be allowed to pick their first round opponent. The Basketball Tournament begins on June 6th at Philadelphia University and the championship game will be held on June 28th at a location to be determined by social media voting. You can find a list of all 32 teams here, but I'll break down some of the most intriguing teams below.

Big Apple Basketball

Big Apple Basketball is a team that features Wake Forest's own Justin Gray, who is a former teammate of Chris Paul. This team has the potential to be up-tempo and we're still waiting to see if Kobe Bryant shows up to cheer on Smush Parker.

  • Justin Gray (Wake Forest/Europe)
  • Rashad McCants (UNC/NBA)
  • Russell Robinson (Kansas/NBDL)
  • Darius Washington Jr. (Memphis/NBA)
  • Smush Parker (Fordham/NBA)
Cornell Sweet Sixteen

The group that led Cornell to its first tournament victory in school history is getting the band back together in hopes of earning the $500,000 prize. Will their team chemistry allow them to make up for a lack of talent?
Pup N' Suds

This team has absolutely zero shot to win the tournament, but they are part of the beauty of the tournament. They have two players who played for Middlebury College, but the rest just played at the high school level. What's great about this tournament is that it's open to everyone and because they were one of the top 24 vote getters, they were able to qualify for the tournament. It must be a thrill for those guys to get to compete against former college and NBA players.

Team ROBY (Rock Out Be You)

The 2009 Villanova Final Four squad is back ad they're looking to win it all in their home city of Philadelphia.
Sean Bell Allstars

The Sean Bell Allstars are the two-time defending EBC Rucker Park champions. Can they continue their streak when they play inside? This is another team that's incredibly intriguing just because you don't know how their style of play will translate to a tournament like this. The team features Jeremy "Cab Driver" Hazell who is a former Seton Hall star. How can you not watch this team?

Teasley's All Stars

Teasley's All Stars are headlined by Nikki Teasley, former WNBA player, and a host of former college players from the Virginia and Pennsylvania area. How will the former WNBA player and mother of two perform against the guys? This team isn't the most talented, but it's one of the most interesting teams in the entire tournament.

TYGTAL (Take Your Game To Another Level)

TYGTAL is perhaps the most talented team in the entire tournament. They feature former Syracuse star Hakim Warrick and Mr. YOLO himself, Marshall Henderson.

  • Hakim Warrick (Syracuse/NBA)
  • Marshall Henderson (Ole Miss)
  • Reggie Williams (VMI/NBA)
Which team catches your eye? Any predictions on who brings home the $500,000?
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