Big thanks to John Harris (@jhbasketball) for his help with this writeup.
The 9th edition of the biggest international streetball tournament in the world, Quai 54, returns to Paris this weekend, and will once again see a British team, assembled by Midnight Madness, competing for the crown.
Quai 54 is a Jordan Brand event that attracts top mix-teams from the farthest corners of the world, with past participants including Japan, the US, UK, Poland, Germany and Spain. Hundreds of Streetball fans from across the globe flock to the heat of the central Parisien venue that last year sat within a stone’s throw of the Eiffel Tower.
The tournament is fast becoming a global icon for Jordan and every year a limited edition ‘Quai 54’ sneaker is released in that year’s colourway. Jordan athletes have also been known to take in a game or two, with Chris Paul sitting courtside for some of 2010’s contests and even participating as a willing obstacle in the dunk contest.
Despite a strong core of GB stars in Matthew Bryan-Amaning, Justin Robinson and Ogo Adegboye, last year saw Midnight Madness exit in the first round, an event team founder Nhamo Shire is keen not to repeat:
“Obviously last year we suffered a first round exit. We wanna try and reverse that this year. Quai 54 kicks off the summer. It’s a high profile tournament that everyone knows about and we wanna go over there and represent. We dont wanna get bounced in first round or embarrass ourselves.”
The MM team are a mainstay of the tournament and are usually a lock to reach the second round. Last year represented a disappointment for the team despite some strong play from Bryan-Amaning (fresh from a breakout performance in March Madness) and Adegboye (who soon after cemented his place as the starting point guard in the GB senior team).
In addition to presenting a high caliber of international basketball, the event also never fails to impress from an entertainment stand point, with acts ranging from Ludacris and Usher to Fat Joe having performed on the hallowed Jordan branded court.
“Above all else, this tournament is hard to replicate in terms of situations and atmosphere to develop players. If you can perform in that environment with thousands of fans, pressure and physical play, there will be few situations you won’t be prepared for.”
“A lot of the players are playing Pro A or Pro B in their country. It’ll make our players better, tougher and more battle tested.”
“We’re gonna go out there, play hard, enjoy it, see how far we can take it. “
The Midnight Madness roster for Le Quai 54 2011 lacks the GB firepower of 2010, with Bryan-Amaning, Robinson and Adegboye missing but is not weak by any means of the imagination featuring seasoned Quai 54 vets such as Guildford Heat baller Mike Martin and former GB guard Germayne Forbes as well as emerging young talent such as Polk State’s Robert Gilchrist and UALR commit Will Neighbour.
Keep it locked to Hoopsfix over the weekend to follow their progress.
Image Credit: John Harris