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Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament draws nearly 800 athletes to Cicero

Teams from all over the country came to Cicero this weekend to participate in the annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, which raised money for the CanTeen. Above, competing players take part in a game Saturday at Drivers Village.

Teams from all over the country came to Cicero this weekend to participate in the annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, which raised money for the CanTeen. Above, competing players take part in a game Saturday at Drivers Village. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— The Macker tournament is designed so that anyone can play, regardless of age or ability. Since 1987, a total of 972 tournaments have been held nationwide, with more than 2.2 million players participating —male and female from 7 years old to over 50 — and more than 23 million spectators.

Teams are computer-matched into male and female divisions within one of the following categories: Junior, Adult, or Top. The age, height and experience of all four players are considered when making teams. Teams are guaranteed at least three scheduled games. At each tournament site, the local organizing committee donates proceeds from their event to a local charity — in Cicero’s case, the CanTeen.

Also, in many cities local non-profit clubs, groups, and organizations raise funds through on-site food concession sales, special events and other on-site activities. The Gus Macker official Web site estimates that since 1987, about $15 million has been raised for numerous charities throughout the United States.

And it’s not just the charities that benefit, Raddell said.

“It’s great for Cicero,” she said. “It’s great for the local businesses. The hotels are packed with athletes and their families who come in from all over the place. The restaurants are feeding everyone at lunch and dinnertime. It’s huge for the businesses. And for the community, it’s something that brings us together as a major community event.”

This year’s event drew 55 more teams than last year, with a total of 792 athletes compared to roughly 600 last year. Teams came in from all over the country to compete in the Cicero Macker, and community members, athletes, families and friends participated in events like the Macker Block Party at Drivers Village preceding the tourney Friday night, autograph signings from former Syracuse University basketball star Scoop Jardine, bounce houses, face painting, crafts and more.

“It’s much more than a basketball tournament,” Raddell said. “It’s a festival.”

And none of it would be possible without the support of the town, she acknowledged.

“We’re so thankful to the town of Cicero for their support for all of this,” Raddell said. “The community and businesses’ support for all that we do is tremendous. There would be no tournament without them.”

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