Home court advantage certainly helped the city of Jamestown on Sunday.
More than 260 teams, totaling 1,040 players representing eight states, gathered over the weekend for the third annual Street JAM basketball tournament, presented by The Resource Center. The three-on-three games have taken place within the city for 17 years, previously under the Gus Macker banner.
With multiple vendors and strong sponsorship, the annual tournament has become an economic engine for the city.
“I can’t say enough of the people that help us put these games together,” said Victoria Trass Bardo, Street JAM tournament director. “We are very dependent on the sponsors; we really do need that support.”
Planning for the games, Bardo said, begins in August, making the tournament almost a year-round event. More than 200 volunteers – from referees to emergency personnel – are brought in as well, she said.
“It is a well-oiled machine,” she said. “We try to make this a family-friendly event for everyone. You can see it out there, too. There are strollers with kids and people walking with canes. There are so many people that make it out here.”
The friendly atmosphere was appreciated by many over the weekend.
“I think it’s nice that you can bring your family down here for this,” said Gerry resident Jean Myles, who watched her grandson, Gehrig, 10, play basketball Sunday.
Neil Robinson of Jamestown said, “I’m impressed how everything seems to be running here. There is some great sportsmanship, and no one seems to yelling or getting into arguments. It’s kind of nice to see that out here.”
Robinson’s grandson, Drew Kelemen, 10, also played in the games.
Proceeds from the two-day tournament are given to Filling the Gap, an organization that provides support and programs for people living with disabilities in Chautauqua County.