The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is a nationwide event for players of a variety of age and skill levels in the United States. Although every tournament is different, a typical Gus Macker event involves dozens of temporary courts set up in parking lots or closed-off public streets. Tournaments are mid-level to major sports media events and are held virtually every weekend from spring through summer and into the fall.
According to the tournament's website, the "Original Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament" began in 1974 in Lowell, Michigan. Scott McNeal (alias Gus Macker) and brother Mitch gathered eighteen friends who played competitively for a tournament purse of $18. As the tournament grew, the McNeals moved their tournament to Belding in 1987, then took the tournament on the road to other communities, branding it as the "Gus Macker All-World Tour". According to the website, over 10,000 players entered the tournament as it visited five cities that year.
The tournament currently holds both indoor and outdoor competitions annually in more than 75 cities, with over 200,000 players and 1.7 million spectators attending. The tournament prohibits alcohol and tobacco sponsorships.
According to the company, the six (6) basic objectives that have guided the development of Gus Macker across the country are:
- A wholesome, family-oriented event.
- A tournament designed by players for players.
- Value to sponsors.
- An outstanding fund-raising event for the local community.
- A major media sporting event.
- Entertainment for the spectators.
Gus Macker Hall of Fame
The Gus Macker Hall of Fame held its original induction ceremony in 1998 in Belding, Michigan, honoring the tournament's most outstanding individuals and teams.
One of the teams honored was Miss Elizabeth's Fan Club of San Diego, California, which has traveled nine times to participate in Macker tournaments in Michigan. These hoopaholics are all over 50 years of age but continue to play basketball as much as they can. They include Bernard Balanay, Jerry Fike, Ralph Mora and Richard Paff. Five years later, in 2003 in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, five more individuals and teams were inducted. It is indeed an honor to be named to the Gus Macker Hall of Fame, as hundreds of thousands of people have participated in the tournaments but only 30 teams and individuals are included in the Hall of Fame.
One of the families that were honored was the Bryans of Lowell, Michigan. Dick, Nola and Lance are longtime personal friends of the McNeal family. Dick and Nola have been behind-the-scenes since the beginning -cooking hotdogs, selling t-shirts, and numerous other tasks. Dick's expertise in the early years was hand-painting the designs on the backboards, while Nola loaded up her Mustang convertible with hot dog buns (sometimes more than was needed). Lance grew up with the tournament and served in many capacities of the tournament. Some of the most notable are entertaining top players at the family pool and single-handedly saving many portable basketball goals during the Great Windstorm of Belding.
Check out the Gus Macker Website  for all current tournament and tour information.
- http://www.macker.com/ | Gus Macker Website