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A Slammin’ History of Summer Jam: Australia’s Hottest Streetball Tournament

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Boomshakalaka! Summer Jam is heating up down under, with Australia’s largest streetball tournament flying in from the wild west to Melbourne on February 3–5. Recently celebrating 10 years of backboard-breaking jams and buttery smooth buckets, founders Eamon Larman-Ripon and Daniel Ella are building a grassroots community stronger than Zion’s upper body.

Powered by the Jordan Brand and Foot Locker, two brands inextricably tied to the rapid growth of basketball culture in Australia, this year’s Summer Jam is set to become the hottest yet.

To celebrate the upcoming event at the iconic Princes Gardens, we hooked up Eamon and Daniel to hit rewind on a hoops project with serious hang time.

Summer Jam first saw daylight in 2012. Casting heat on the hallowed grounds of Princes Gardens, the tournament quickly attracted some of the most jaw-dropping talent from across the nation.

Fostering local legends like Deng Adel, Kuany Kuany and Ben Ayre, Summer Jam became known as the place to put your skills to the test, with both men’s and women’s competitions pounding the pavement in search of the elusive championship.

Suffice to say, the refs swallowed their whistles and light fouls were brushed off – Summer Jam was authentic pickup basketball from the tipoff.

Initially taking inspiration from SLAM magazine, AND1 mixtapes and pickup legends like Hot Sauce, The Professor and Skip 2 My Lou, founders Eamon and Daniel decided to take streetball down under in 2012 – an auspicious time, given basketball’s meteoric growth in the country in recent years.

‘There’s a lot of Australian talent coming through the NBA and WNBA in the last ten years’, says Daniel. ‘Even the NBL and semi-professional leagues are presenting more connected pathways for players. It brings a huge energy to the local scene.’

But it’s not just elite-level talent driving the popularity of basketball in Australia. Over the course of its decade-long tenure, Summer Jam continues to nurture a diverse community of artists, creatives and sneakerheads.

‘Everyone that gets involved stays involved’, says Eamon. ‘Even a lot of the staff and scorers and referees, they all still remain. It’s such an amazing feeling having the “Jam Fam.”’

Indeed, beyond the court, Summer Jam is scoring buckets for developing young talent across fields like food, art and music.

‘We’ve provided a platform for local and emerging artists to be able to showcase themselves in front of a crowd’, continues Eamon. ‘We always want to engage with local artists and food vendors, especially in surrounding areas like Chapel Street. Profitable Farmers, Fred’s and Cafe 132 will all be at Summer Jam Melbourne this year.’

Summer Jam isn’t only cooking up a storm from food vans.

The three-day basketball bonanza always exhibits some of the hottest sneakers on the market. From OG Jumpman grails, Nike’s latest performance tech, and KD’s that have seen one too many Euro-steps, the tournament is an absolute goldmine.

But for hooper Eamon, it’s always about the Nike Air Force 1 – and perhaps a little React.

‘The Air Force 1s just go with everything. Fresh ‘Triple White’ all weekend long. You can’t go wrong with them. But the Reacts are probably going to catch a run because I’m definitely doing around 20,000 steps during setup.’

‘The Air Jordan 1 and Air Jordan 11 are always my staples’, adds Daniel. ‘But the Air Force 1s will definitely get a run too.’

The heat emanating from Summer Jam continues to be felt globally, and for the founders, this is only the beginning.

‘We want to keep expanding our game globally’, says Daniel. ‘We want to tell the stories of local talent in Australia but on a global scale.’

Looks like the Air Force 1s won’t be the only thing taking flight in the future…

Ready for tipoff?

Slam the button below to register for Summer Jam 2023.

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