In 1974 at the childhood home of Scott and Mitch McNeal in Lowell, MI, a small group of friends came together and laced up their sneakers to compete in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for the very first time. Word traveled throughout the community and the friendly competition expanded with more community members participating the following year… and the year after… and the year after that… to the phenomenon that has become the legendary Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.
In the past 45-years, the tournament has touched all corners of the country, as the road show travels to host tournements in communities all summer long. The Jackson community has been waiting for over 15-years since the sounds of squeaking sneakers and cheers were last heard rebounding off the walls of our downtown businesses surrounding the event. 15-years is simply far too long… and Gus Macker is coming back to Michigan Avenue this July!
On July 13th, 14th, and 15th, Jackson will welcome thousands of athletes and fans to celebrate the return of the tournament to the downtown district. On 20 courts, attendees will be able to experience the celebration first-hand, ranging from watching first-time hoopers on the 7- and 8-year-old courts run the “three-man weave” for the first time to seeing current and former college athletes grit it out for the top honor. In between these, there are divisions for all age and skill levels, including the area’s hottest high school talent to old-timers getting the gang back together for the first time in over a decade.
In addition to the return of the tournament, for many, this is also the return of the city. Across Jackson, the number of restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, entertainment venues, and family-friendly destinations are on an entirely new level than the last time Gus Macker was in town. The city is deep in a revitalization, which will be on display as the tournament will be taking place on the new streets and sidewalks surrounded by an area of businesses that stretch far beyond the hotels along I-94 and US-127.
If you want to be a part of something legendary, you know where to go this July. We’ll see you in Jackson.
--Written by Kyle Liechty