George Beamon of Roslyn, N.Y., came into the day as the No. 8 seed in the Ones Basketball League (OBL)–the first-ever elite competition that celebrates the most skilled one-on-one players on the planet and was created by Basketball Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady–in the Los Angeles Regional
Well, Beamon surmounted the odds and became OBL’s sixth and final 2022 Regional Champion in front of enthusiastic crowds on Saturday and Sunday on the campus of UCLA.
Marcus Hall (Denver) and Randy Gill (Los Angeles) took home the second and third spots in the competition. The trio now qualifies, along with the other OBL Regional winners, for the first-ever OBL Finals in Las Vegas next month.
Beamon needed to win four games, including the 8 vs. 9 play-in to capture the title and the $10,000 first place 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 “Everybody Hates Chris” Staples (Woodland Hills, Calif.), the Manhattan College product won the championship by taking out the sixth-seeded Hall, 10-4. He drilled a two-pointer to secure the win in which his five straight points after trailing 1-0 put the New Yorker ahead to stay.
“I’m just blessed with the opportunity, and so humbled to be able to showcase my talent,” Beamon said in a press release who came in from New York to compete in the OBL Los Angeles Regional when scheduling conflicts kept him from participating in the New York Regional held in Brooklyn last month. “Cali love always and shout out to my family back home in New York who always has my back.”
Hall, a University of Colorado graduate who now splits his time between homes in his native Houston and Denver, and seeded sixth entering Sunday’s play, advanced to the OBL Finals with victories 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 position, 44-year-old Randy “White Chocolate” Gill, originally a Laurel, Md., native who played his collegiate ball near home at Bowie State, outlasted Staples, 9-6. Gill, who won MTV’s “Who’s Got Game” reality competition in 2003, showed a superior jump shooting prowess and guile in advancing to Las Vegas.
“Pauley 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,” McGrady said. “The competition rose to championship level with incredible games all weekend.”
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 the first-ever OBL Regional competition is finished, OBL will soon announce the field for next month’s two-day OBL Finals in Las Vegas (dates and venue TBA).
Additionally, the overall winner of the event will dribble away with a $250,000 prize and lay to claim to the “Ruler of the Court” title.
— Jerry Del Priore