The Ones Basketball League (OBL) championship came down to a nail-biting end, with John Jordan of Houston, Texas, draining a fade away two-pointer in overtime to upend George Beamon (Roslyn, NY), 2-1, (8-8 after regulation).
Jordan took home the $250,000 winner-take-all first prize and inaugural title of “Ruler of the Court” at the OBL Finals before more than 1,200 fans at The Dollar Loan Center, in Henderson, Nevada, on Saturday night.
Jordan’s victory is the culmination of the 2022 proof-of-concept season in 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.
Beamon, seeded No. 5 after winning the OBL Los Angeles Regional, had a chance to end the game in regulation. After drawing a foul with under 0:10 left, he made the first but missed the second that kept his lead at 8-7. A Jordan free throw with under a second left tied the contest to send it into overtime.
See video of the winning shot below:
After Beamon took a 1-0 lead (first to two wins), he had one possession in which a single point would have secured the victory, but he failed to score. Jordan, who came in as the second seed after winning the OBL Houston Regional, then hit his game-winner from the left side for the Championship.
Out of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Jordan relished in the fact that he made OBL history against some of the stiffest competition around, capturing the respect from the OBL hoops’ community after his historic win.
“I had to battle all tournament, with great opponents, especially George in the Finals, and I’m proud to be the first OBL Champion,” Jordan said. “It’s not as much about the money to me, but the respect. I want to thank T-Mac and the OBL for this opportunity.”
McGrady could not be happier with his first hoops king and the opportunities he believes the OBL will create for the players who showed up and showed out, not to mention the electricity the spectators brough to the tournament.
“John Jordan is a great champion and the kind of player that the OBL is built for,” said McGrady, a 15-year NBA veteran. “Our goal is to give these overlooked players a platform, and the way he and many others competed throughout the weekend should open plenty of eyes in the basketball world. We couldn’t be happier for John, and we loved the energy these players and the fans brought to the OBL all season long.”
The Finals began on Friday with 22 hopefuls having qualified at six OBL Regional Championships held in Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the DMV, and Los Angeles. Friday’s action eliminated 14 competitors, leaving the quarterfinals, semifinals and final match on Saturday, with the following results:
Game 1: #8 Yoshi Craig (Chicago) d. #17 Randy Gill (Los Angeles), 9-2
Game 2: #5 George Beamon (Roslyn, N.Y.) d. Mario Smith (Kalamazoo, Mich), 9-5
Game 3: #6 Kevin Kuteyi (Lanham, Md.) d. #14 Darien Davis (Coram, N.Y.), 9-8
Game 4: #2 John Jordan (Houston) d. #10 Zach Radz (Troy, N.Y.), 9-6
Beamon d. Craig, 4-1
Jordan d. Kuteyi, 9-7
Jordan d. Beamon, 2-1 (OT) (8-8 regulation)
Beamon advanced to the Final with a hard-fought, defensive struggle over Craig, breaking a late 1-1 tie with with two baskets and a free throw. Jordan held off a late rally by Kuteyi, then scored the last two points to break a 7-7 tie to win his semifinal matchup.
Winners of each of the six OBL Regional Championships took home a $10,000 first prize. Athletes aged 18 and up who are currently not under an NBA contract and have not been on an active NBA roster for more than 164 games (equivalent to two NBA regular seasons) were eligible to compete. The aim is to welcome both best-in-class talent and players who may still be under-the-radar to most basketball fans.
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Follow Ones Basketball League at https://www.oblhoops.com/.
— Jerry Del Priore