The second annual San Diego Sneaks Summer Classic basketball tournament is set to cap off the July 4th weekend on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at the La Jolla Rec Center. Last year, more than 80 payers and 12 teams signed up for the tournament.
Organizers Sawsun Khodapanah and Tyler Youngs (both 2013 La Jolla High grads) are hoping for an even bigger crowd this year, as they change things up to make the five-on-five tournament even better.
First off, the number of participating teams will grow from 12 to 16 to increase the number of games and boost the competition. Additionally, referees will be added for the single-elimination tournament games.
“We want to ensure that the high stakes in the later games don’t manifest into ugly, brawl-like game styles,” Khodapanah told the Light. “We want to keep the games clean, fair and true to the art of the beautiful game of basketball!”
The pair is also bringing in more vendors who will offer a variety of food, refreshments, art talent and more.
Khodapanah and Youngs are expanding their marketing efforts this year, too, both organically and through social media. They’re hoping for a huge local turnout, as well as bringing back alumni and additional players from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
“We have a great tradition that we’re building up and this is a great opportunity to be a part of it. This is something we want to make a San Diego summer-time staple in the years to come. We are working to put forth a great product basketball-wise, as well as create an environment for people of all types and interests to enjoy. There is high competition, great food, refreshments, entertainment and even an opportunity to make a great San Diego getaway with your friends and/or family for the 4th of July weekend.”
San Diego Sneaks remains the premier sponsor of the event — a company that Khodapahan started himself. At the inaugural tournament last year, the company was only 10 months old. Since then, it’s evolved and shifted its focus a bit, mainly due to something that happened at last year’s event.
“Last year,” Khodapahan explained, “San Diego Sneaks was mainly a sneaker-selling business that also included some clothes of other labels. But when we made shirts for tournament participants, many people reached out to me wanting to buy more shirts. Capitalizing on this momentum, and already having an interest in fashion and design, that tournament shirt became the first building block of what I’m now building into my own clothing company. I would have never thought that one simple shirt design could turn into what it has, but I’ve enjoyed the process and am excited to see where I can take it with some more hard work.”
The company will be selling shoes again at the event, as well as other merchandise, some exclusive to the tournament.
Myles Polger, a former La Jolla High varsity basketball player, competed in last year and is looking forward to continuing the tradition. “Last year was amazing,” Polger said. “Growing up playing at the Rec Center and now having the opportunity to come back and get the community together in this manner is so awesome. Sawsun and Tyson have done an incredible job putting the tournament together and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow each year.”
The organizing duo is still deciding on what the Grand Prize will be for this year’s classic. Last year, each member of the winning team got indoor game balls engraved with the Sneaks logo.
Players must sign up as a team at sandiegosneaks.com