Classic 3x3 competition coming to Newaygo County
Publisher Note: I recall what were known as the ZIT games that took place in the driveway across the street from where I grew up.
The Zerfas Invitational Tournament, a 3 on 3 or sometimes a 2 on 2 set of games featured a variety of players from various parts of the Grand Rapids area and were hosted by former Fremont Head Coach Pete Zerfas’ Dad and Uncle.
Some good players hit that pavement and the games were nothing but serious. As kids we emulated the games playing driveway ball for bragging rights and hopes of one day being invited to play with ‘the big guys’.
Then after a couple of decades, the Macker franchise came along and I was thrilled to see the genre taking life in venues throughout the state and indeed the nation.
There is nothing like it.
Now the game is coming to Newaygo County.
The River Country Chamber of Commerce is bringing Gus Macker Basketball to Newaygo County with Cory Nelson Custom Homes as one of the major sponsors of the event along with Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Jerry’s Towing, Newaygo Fitness Club, and Velocity.
America's Original 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament will hit Newaygo County, MI, July 16-17.
Ever been to a Macker?
It is a grueling quest for glory that involves the classic 3 person hoops at its best. A tournament that brings out hoopsters of all ages who play for the absolute love of the game. Gus Macker Tournaments are designed for basketball players who embrace the fun of the driveway game – male or female, from age 7 to 70-plus, short and tall, the most experienced or those with little or no experience who just want to play. Through the years there have been almost 1,500 sanctioned Gus Macker Tournaments presented for over 700,000 teams or almost 2.7 million players and played in front of almost 28 million spectators across the country.
This year, 2022, is the 49th year of Gus Macker Basketball. For the first 13 years it was a single tournament started by a pair of brothers and their friends in Lowell, Mich., in 1974 but became a festival phenomenon and America’s Original 3- on-3 Basketball Tour in 1987.
This year, basketball fanatics across Newaygo County and the surrounding communities can be a part of it, because teams are now computer-matched into male and female divisions in one of three categories: Junior, Adult, or Top. The age, height and experience of all four players on each team are considered in bracketing.
Teams receive at least three scheduled games each tournament. Macker is a double-elimination tournament, but with a consolation bracket historically called “The Toilet Bowl” for teams that lose the first two games. Macker tournaments normally maintain order in almost all cases with registered officials calling fouls and violations.
In addition to the economic impact of bringing thousands of players and fans into Newaygo County, the charitable aspect of the Gus Macker Tournament is very important. For 2022, The Chamber will be engaging Newaygo County non-profit organizations who will be able to benefit financially through volunteer opportunities. The Gus Macker organization estimates that since 1987 - approximately $16 million has been raised for local charities. If your business or organization would like to be a part of the planning process or volunteer, we want to hear from you.
“Family fun, a competitive spirit, all in an outdoor festival atmosphere is our goal of bringing Gus Macker to Newaygo,” said Dale Richardson, Chairman of the River Country Chamber. “Fire up and get to work on your game!”
Learn more at macker.com.