Midsummer basketball on sneaker-melting pavement ain't everyone's idea of a good time. But that won't stop hordes of three-player teams from lacing up at the Nautica parking lot for this weekend's NBA Hoop-It-Up competition. The annual amateur tournament crowns regional winners who are shipped off to the national finals, which take place during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February.
The competition is divided into three categories: Youth (all players under 18), Adult, and Top Gun (for teams that compete on a college or semi-pro level). Non-team players get their own opportunities to shine: Participants in the 24/7 Challenge try to dunk seven balls in 24 seconds; the Free Throw Frenzy is a foul-shooting race against the clock; and the Express Yourself Zone lets Shaq wannabes sing along to their favorite hip-hop tunes, then watch their performances beamed back on a wide-screen TV (hey, it beats Kazaam).
"Cleveland is one of the first sites [the NBA] wanted to come back to," says Rob Marron, development director for the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "[The NBA] realizes Cleveland is a solid location." NBA Hoop-It-Up takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Nautica parking lot, 2014 Sycamore Street in the Flats. Spectators get in free. Three-on-three participation fees are $135 per team, $200 for Top Gun teams; call 216-623-9933 to register. -- Cris Glaser
The Gay Outdoors
Out & About loves going wild.
Jan Cline's already out of the closet, but he also prefers to be outdoors. "We [recently] went on a muddy eight-mile hike. It was tougher than usual, but worth it," says Cline, president of Out & About, a Cleveland group of gay and lesbian hikers, bikers, and canoers who meet twice monthly. The group has camped in Findley State Park in Wellington, canoed the Cuyahoga River during Gay Pride weekend, and hiked the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the middle of January. It meets for a hike at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Russell Center of the West Woods Nature Center (9465 Kinsman Road in Russell Township). Admission is free. For more information, go to www.clevelandoutdoors.org. -- Cris Glaser