Two hundred thousand players and spectators will descend this weekend on downtown Spokane for Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament. A few facts:
Numbers: 6,701 teams will compete on 428 courts spread throughout 40 downtown blocks and supervised by 3,000 Hoopfest volunteers.
Weather: Expect clear skies and various stages of undress as temperatures climb into the low 80s by Sunday.
Action: Elite Division players compete in the Nike Center Court in Riverfront Park, site of the weekend’s most exciting action, including the Toyota Shoot-Off for a 2010 Prius and the Marine Air Slam Dunk Contest.
Celebrities: Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will speak and sign books at 7 p.m. Friday at the Fox theater. Ex-Gonzaga star Dan Dickau and former NBA great A.C. Green will sign autographs Sunday at the 3BA Motorcoach at Stevens Street and Spokane Falls Boulevard.
Changes: Food vendors will be set up in Riverfront Park’s western meadow beginning at 11 a.m. today. Also in the meadow, the movie “Coach Carter” will play at 8 p.m. tonight on a 9-foot-by-12-foot Jumbotron television. The Jumbotron will air action at Center Court throughout the weekend.
Copfest: Spokane’s largest public event ranks second only to Seattle’s Seafair hydroplane races in terms of DUI arrests in the state, so expect police to be out in force.
Last year, 54 people were arrested during Hoopfest weekend, down from previous years.
This year, Spokane police will beef up patrols with the help of the Washington State Patrol, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Spokane Valley Police, Whitman County sheriff’s deputies and Washington State University police.