Culture & Food » Arts & Culture

Big Shots

Spokane takes pride in Hoopfest, as it should


  • Trevor Patrick

It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers when it comes to talking about Hoopfest. That’s because those numbers are downright impressive. For example, there are more than 7,000 teams competing, meaning in excess of 28,000 players — ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens — will hit one of 454 courts, requiring the application of 8 miles of tape to the streets of downtown Spokane. About 3,000 volunteers are needed to pull off this annual feat that brings an estimated $38 million into the community.

But it’s not all about the numbers. This is very much a community event, one that — not to obsess over statistics again — draws nearly a quarter of a million people just to watch. Some might see it merely as something that blocks off their favorite downtown streets, but in reality, it’s a cultural touchstone for Spokane, a city that has come to love its basketball.

As the event has expanded since its 1990 inception, during which only 2,000 players competed, so has its scope. At this year’s Hoopfest, you can learn about slacklining, get an autograph from your favorite Gonzaga player, hear inspirational speeches, enjoy excellent food, and of course check out some basketball.

After 24 years, there’s a reason this has become the biggest three-on-three tournament on the planet. It’s because Spokane loves basketball.

Hoopfest • Sat-Sun, June 29-30 • Downtown Spokane •

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