The idea for the tournament came about during a routine exchange in 2010. TBT creators Vin Martelli and Jonathan Mugar shared their idea with Rob Kennedy, who oversaw the youth basketball organization. It was necessary to contact the players who could make the tournament interesting and, consequently, sell this idea to national television.
32 teams participated in the first TBT tournament. The winner received $500,000. The following year, there were already 97 participating teams (until now this is a record in the history of the tournament). In 2021 and 2022, 64 teams played. The winner receives one million dollars. At all stages of the tournament, teams play to a win. Also, this tournament is characterized by distribution into regions – their number was different.
This year the teams were divided into eight regions. The winner of each of them advances to the so-called “Champion’s Week”, which includes quarterfinals, semifinals and a final. The final match takes place on August 3 in Dayton.
In August 2016, basketball fan and Ball State University professor Nick Elam sent an email to tournament organizers. He submitted a 67-slide presentation outlining a proposal to change the format: Before each match, a certain number of points must be set for the team to score; whoever does it the fastest will win. Elam, watching college basketball games, found that more often than not, instead of tense and exciting endings, there was a deliberate violation of the rules by the losing team, and numerous free throws were smashed as a result. Nick did his own research and found that this tactic was only effective 1.5% of the time. He has studied and analyzed over 2,000 NBA and college basketball games. The organizers accepted the fan proposal, now known as the end of Elam.
Quarters of TBT matches are nine minutes long and there are no overtimes. The player is expelled after the sixth personal warning, as in the NBA. Bonus free throws are taken according to FIBA rules: after the team’s fifth infraction and subsequent non-shooting fouls, two free throws are awarded. If you need to see any controversial moments in the final two minutes of the game, you can only do so if one of the teams is within three points of Elam’s ultimate goal.
As for the tournament players, former NBA basketball players participated (Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, Brian Scalabrini, Greg Oden and others); Nikki Teasley of the Women’s NBA; Many teams feature professional players under the name of a former college or university.
It is worth noting that even current NBA players are not left out of this tournament. For example, in 2017, Carmelo Anthony appeared as an announcer in Baltimore, where he played high school basketball; in 2019, Chris Paul (Team CP3) and DeMarcus Cousins (Loyalty Is Love) made up the team rosters, while Bobby Portis and Andre Drummond coached the TBT teams.
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