Cicero This weekend, basketballers from around the country will descend on the town of Cicero for the fifth annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.
The tournament, which includes 716 players on 179 teams, will take place from Friday, Aug. 8, to Sunday, Aug. 10 next to Drivers Village.
Cicero Parks and Recreation Department employee Julie Raddell brought the tournament to town in 2010 as a way to help raise money for the CanTeen teen center.
“We needed a big fundraiser to make a lot of money, because we were doing a lot of little fundraisers, just nickel-and-diming and just bringing in small amounts,” Raddell said. “We were just using up our committee members year-round, and they were getting tired. So we wanted one big one that we could put a lot of work into for part of the year that could bring in a lot of money.”
That’s when Raddell thought of Macker.
“I grew up in Michigan, and that’s where Macker started,” she said. “I grew up playing in lots of Mackers and going from city to city to city, and I said, ‘Why don’t we look at this?’”
Gus Macker tournaments have become a tradition for people across the country. The first Gus Macker tournament was played by Scott McNeal (known to friends as Gus Macker) on his parents’ driveway basketball court in Lowell, Michigan in 1974, and it only grew from there. By 1987, it had become a statewide phenomenon. The first year, more than 10,400 players participated in five cities. Since then, the Macker tournaments have expanded, holding both indoor and outdoor games in more than 75 cities, with more than 200,000 players taking part each year.
The local event has grown exponentially since its inception.
“In four short years, our event has doubled in size,” Raddell said. “We’ve registered players from around New York and from states all around the country. We’ve built new solid relationships with local businesses and charities and we’ve met some incredible people that have continued to volunteer over the years.”