Pauley Pavilion on the campus of UCLA is home to more than a few basketball champions. Add one more to the historic venueâ€™s title total as the Ones Basketball League (OBL) — the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady — crowned its sixth and final 2022 Regional Champion in front of enthusiastic crowds on Saturday and Sunday.
A total of 32 national-level basketball players squared off in spirited action, and it was George Beamon (Roslyn, N.Y.), Marcus Hall (Denver) and Randy Gill (Los Angeles) who took the top three places in a weekend filled with close contests. The trio now qualify along with the other OBL Regional winners for the first-ever OBL Finals in Las Vegas next month.
Beamon came into the day as the No. 8 seed, needing to win four games including the 8 vs. 9 play-in to win the title and the $10,000 first prize that accompanied the championship. After edging Austin Armstead (Los Angeles) in the play-in and then dispatching No. 1 seed Jalil Abdul-Bassit (Las Vegas) and fifth-seeded Chris â€œEverybody Hates Chrisâ€ Staples (Woodland Hills, Calif.), the Manhattan College product won the championship by taking out the sixth-seeded Hall, 10-4, burying a two-pointer to secure the win in which his five straight points after trailing 1-0 put the New Yorker ahead to stay.
â€œIâ€™m just blessed with the opportunity, and so humbled to be able to showcase my talent,â€ said Beamon, who came in from New York to compete in the OBL Los Angeles Regional when scheduling conflicts kept from participating in the New York Regional held in Brooklyn last month. â€œCali love always and shout out to my family back home in New York who always has my back.â€
Hall, a University of Colorado graduate who now splits his time between homes in his native Houston and Denver, seeded sixth entering Sundayâ€™s play, advanced to the OBL Finals with wins over No. 3 Julius Bilbrew (Inglewood, Calif.) and a thrilling 9-7 win over Gill in the semifinals.
In the third place game for the final Las Vegas spot, 44-year-old Randy â€œWhite Chocolateâ€ Gill, originally a Laurel, Md., native who played his collegiate ball near home at Bowie State, outlasted Staples, 9-6. Gill, who won MTVâ€™s â€œWhoâ€™s Got Gameâ€ reality competition in 2003, showed superior jump shooting skill and guile in advancing to Las Vegas.
â€œPauley Pavilion is a storied and classic basketball venue and we are excited and honored to have showcased our amazing OBL players in such a historic location,â€ said McGrady. â€œThe competition rose to championship level with incredible games all weekend.â€
The Los Angeles Regional follows successful events in Houston (April 30-May 1), Atlanta (May 7-8), Chicago (May 21-22), New York (May 28-29) and the DMV (June 4-5). Now that first-ever OBL Regional competition is complete, OBL will soon announce the field for next monthâ€™s two-day OBL Finals in Las Vegas (dates and venue TBA). The winner of each of the six Regionals earned a $10,000 cash prize along with an invitation to the Finals, which will also include four â€œCommissionerâ€™s Choiceâ€ wild cards for a 22-player field competing for a chance to win a $250,000 grand prize and be crowned “Ruler of the Court.â€
OBL media partners include SHOWTIME Sports, SLAM Media, Playmaker, and Heart and Hustle Productions. Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/ and on Twitter and Instagram.