There is an exclusive subculture of elite basketball players in the Treasure Valley. This tight-knit group, mainly composed of former college basketball players, competes in organized recreation leagues.
Two such players, Chris Allen and Booker Nabors, are on the same summer league team. However, these two teammates will soon become bitter rivals.
With Booker and the rest of the guys, we are really good friends, Allen said. When it comes to BAM Jam, you flip the switch and go to war.
Allen and Nabors are on opposing squads for the fifth annual Fast Eddys BAM Jam, which will be played Saturday and Sunday. Although more than 350 teams are expected to compete in Idahos largest 3-on-3 tournament, the central focus will be on Allen and Nabors, and the epic rivalry they have created in the streets of Downtown Boise.
Allen, a former guard at Spokane Community College and Lewis-Clark State College, is a three-time summer BAM Jam champion in the elite division. In the only year Allen didnt win, he was sidelined with an injury. For each of those three championships, Allen faced Nabors in the title game.
Nabors, a guard at Boise State from 2000-04, has made it to the BAM Jam championship game on all seven occasions; four times in the summer tournament and three times in the spring tournament, which is indoors. Nabors earned his first BAM Jam victory last spring against Allens team. Nabors teammates from that championship squad, Mike Polotto, Justin McCarthy and Kevin Baker, will remain intact for the summer BAM Jam.
Its always a challenge. (Allen) is one of the quickest guys and one of the best shooters I have ever played against, Nabors said. It is never easy going up against Chris.
Allen agrees that Nabors team creates a major obstacle. In fact, Allen creates his team based on matchups with Nabors team.
We want to be the first team to three-peat, Allen said, (Nabors) is the one team we keep an eye on. We put together a team to go against those guys.
Allens teammates are Ryan McCarthy, Wade Joseph and Bryan Rabas. Although tournament organizers had not yet seeded the brackets, BAM Jam director of operations Vince Hordemann expects them to be the top two seeds in the elite division. He is hopeful for another showdown between the two teams.
It is exciting to watch them play. You dont want to blink, because one of them will do something, Hordemann said. You just dont know what to expect.
The opposing players have completely different styles, which creates an intriguing matchup. Allen plays from the outside, while Nabors uses finesse at the post. Both approaches have led their respective teams to success, but Hordemann enjoys seeing the competitiveness both players possess.
They are just two guys that love to play basketball and want to prove that they are the best, Hordemann said.
The quest for Allens three-peat and Nabors first summer BAM Jam title begins Saturday. The championship game will take place at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday on center court.
BAM JAM LOCATION CHANGE
BAM Jam, Boises annual three-on-three basketball tournament, will be played at a new location Saturday and Sunday. Tournament organizers say BoDo could no longer support BAM Jams growth, in addition to other issues.
The new location has gotten pretty good reviews from participants so far, said Vince Hordemann, the director of operations and media relations for BAM Jam. There will be a lot more shade and more parking.
The tournaments new location will host center court on the intersection of 6th and Bannock, at the southeast corner of Capitol Park. Additional courts will be played on surrounding streets.
There will be three roads closed for the event:
6th between Jefferson and Idaho;
5th Street between Jefferson and Idaho;
and Bannock between 4th Street and Capitol Boulevard.
The information tent, medical tent and restrooms will be held at Capitol Park. In addition, the surplus of parking lots and garages makes it an all-around better location.
We outgrew the spot in BoDo and hit our capacity with the new location, Hordemann said. It is a lot better and safer. There is going to be a lot less danger of traffic. The shade will cool the temperatures.
The other change is the location of the slam-dunk contest and 3-point competition, which will be held in front of the Idaho State Capitol Building on Saturday.
We thought it would be a neat experience, Hordemann said. It has never been done before.