Pickup basketball fiends hungry for local bragging rights are probably praying their nightmare three-on-three competition isn’t signed up for Hoop There It Is! The imaginary opponents might consist of Quentin Thomas, Leon Powe, and Theo White, core of the Oakland Tech squad that made this year’s Division I state finals. Throw in Oakland High’s lightning-fast Cal-bound guard Ayinde Ubaka for the four-on-four, and everybody else could end up looking like so many arthritic toddlers. The event’s name sounds familiar. Local b-ball fans remember “Hoop It Up,” the traveling street tourney that last hit Oaktown back in 2000. This is the same idea, except Oakland-based, revived by former Cal Bears benchwarmer Rick Moses. “We’re going to grow it here and keep it here and you won’t have to worry about it leaving anymore,” he promises.
Here’s how it works: Three- and four-player teams compete for prizes and minor glory on two dozen portable courts on the blocked-off streets and plazas around City Center (14th and Clay). Tipping off at 9 a.m. Saturday (until 4 p.m.) and 10 a.m. Sunday (until 3 p.m.), the weekend-long competition is divided into numerous gender and age divisions from ten-and-under to the toughest “All World” bracket. For each team entry, the promoter promises to donate $15 to the American Heart Association.
Last time something like this took place, more than five hundred teams competed in the Arena parking lot, so there should be plenty of free sports action for spectators. One disclaimer — the level of competition is likely to vary. “You get guys who’ve played college ball, and then you get guys who just believe,” Moses says. There are also city, county, and corporate teams signed up, which means gangbangers could draw a grudge match with the OPD, FedEx could face archrival UPS, and, of course, the Warriors will be fielding a team … just kidding! They’ll merely be on hand as sponsors. Besides the games, there’s a slam-dunk contest, and two players chosen at random will get a chance to win $5,000 if they can sink a half-court shot. Don’t be nervous, kids. www.hoopthereitis.com — Michael Mechanic
Run ‘n’ Roll
The organizers of Sunday’s 35th Martinez Luka Sekulich Brickyard Race tout it as “great taper-down training for the Big Sur Marathon,” but the race has its own intrinsic rewards. The event is actually two races in one — a four-mile and an eight-mile RRCA State Championship Race — along the rolling hills of the Carquinez Scenic Drive, sponsored by the Diablo Road Runners. The entry fee (includes a T-shirt for all preregistered runners) is $20, $11 for kids 12 and under. Info: www.diablorunners.com or www.active.com — Kelly Vance
You don’t have to be in tip-top shape to take part in Saturday’s Run for Life — all you need is to have a heart. The 3K, 5K, and 10k run/walk through the UC Berkeley campus benefits the Run for Life Foundation, which helps Bay Area youth groups. Everyone is invited, even kids and families, and the $20 per person registration includes a souvenir T-shirt for all kids. The certified course includes spectacular views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, but more importantly, finishing the course instills self-esteem in youthful participants. The run starts at the corner of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue at 8 a.m. To learn more: www.runforlife.net or 1-866-786-4543. — Kelly Vance
Go Climb a Theater Seat
Mountains can kill you. Take the Best of the Banff Mountain Film Festival, a traveling series of adventure films and videos from the Alberta-based Banff Centre. Just reading the subject list pumps up the adrenaline: unicycle descents down peaks, scaling Boulder office buildings, climbing Annapurna, skiing for disabled people. Thursday and Friday’s shows — a different program each night — at UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Auditorium (7 p.m. both evenings) cost $15 at the door. Info: 510-527-4140. — Kelly Vance