Flint, MI—  The original Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is returning to Flint for the first time in more than 20 years. 

The tournaments will be held on September 18 and 19, in the Flat Lot located at 125 E. Kearsley St. On September 17, there will be all kinds of family events happening, including food, prizes, a bounce house, possibly a carnival, and a Detroit Pistons youth clinic giving away 150 basketballs.

But it will be more than just fun and games. 

The tournament will also be a fundraiser for the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, a non-profit organization that provides free programming for Flint youth, to build a Sportsplex and provide sports programming. 

SBEV Program Director Linnell McKenney said the Sportsplex, a $10 million-dollar project, will be home to three basketball courts and a football field. The courts and field could also be used for soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, tennis, floor hockey, and pickleball, McKenney said. 

“I always tell people it’s about the dream. Giving everybody an opportunity to dream,” McKenney said. “Flint is the mecca of basketball…but there is a gap. Our kids have not had the opportunity to develop their talents and gifts. We’re bridging that gap.”

McKenney was the first female professional basketball player to come out of Flint. 

She said she played with Gus Macker in tournaments many years ago in lower Michigan. In the early ’80s, a Gus Macker tournament was held in Flint. 

When McKenney began working at SBEV, she decided the nationwide tournament should come back to Flint. She had reached out before bring it back, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t possible.

“Now we’re saying now’s the time,” McKenney said. “We want to bring basketball back to Flint, and bring an opportunity for kids to have fun and play…and give Flint a chance to get back to normal.” 

Anyone ages seven to 70 can register to participate. To register, you can visit the Gus Macker website here

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...