Boise's Sixth and Bannock streets will once again transform into a massive outdoor showcase for BAM Jam Boise on Saturday, Aug. 11, and Sunday, Aug. 12. Taking over the streets near the Idaho Statehouse, dozens of teams will battle in what is already forecast to be triple-digit heat in front of thousands of curbside spectators. This will be the 11th year for the 3-on-3 tournament, which has become an annual rite of summer in Boise.
"People play because they love it," said Vince Hordemann, a BAM Jam Boise co-founder. "But you've got to be willing to play through injury and heat. Plus, you've got to be mentally able to play back-to-back-to-back games."
Brothers Vince and Clint Hordemann began the tournament in 2008, merging their love for hoops and Boise.
"We knew Boise was great—we wanted to show off the features of the city," Vince said. "We just thought a 3-on-3 tournament played downtown would welcome people from out of town, and give the people who live here something they could be proud of each August."
While the tournament is open to everyone, Vince insisted this year's competition will be the toughest of its kind in the western U.S. Competitors come from across the country and sometimes from other nations to compete. Teams are bracketed based on age, school grade, gender, height and players' levels of competition after registration.
"I would say it takes a special type of player to compete in 95-degree weather on blacktop," said Vince. "You have to be pretty tough."
But above all, the Hordemann brothers said the tournament is designed to be family friendly.
"It brings people together," said Clint. "Whether you're a beginner who doesn't have a lot of experience playing competitively or even if you've competed professionally, there's a place for you."
Three-on-three basketball has grown in popularity across the globe and will even be included in the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo. Here in the northwest U.S., one of the first organized 3-on-3 tourneys was Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington, which began in 1990. Today, that same competition draws more than 250,000 people.
"A group of us competing in Hoopfest had grown up here in the Treasure Valley," said Clint. "We kept asking ourselves, 'Why can't we do this here?'"
Unlike most tournaments, BAM Jam takes place outdoors in sometimes sweltering heat. Despite that, Clint said he still expects a turnout in the thousands.
"When you combine all the other special downtown events, it really has more of a festival atmosphere," he said.