Spokane Hoopfest Association is not a conventional organization. It is a business born from one crazy idea that became an event. That event has grown to the largest of its kind on planet earth. That is an extraordinary statement! It is truly a shining example of what a community can accomplish when it is united for a common purpose, but it was not the only crazy basketball idea that was born during that time. Spokane AAU was also created in the same time period as our region’s elite youth basketball program. Over the years, it grew to become the largest AAU basketball club in the country (early 2000s). Both of these organizations ran independently of each other until 2002 when they merged into one. As the organization continued to grow, partnerships grew and new programs were added. Ignite Basketball Association (formerly Midnight Basketball), Eastern Washington Elite, The Fitz Camp and now The Fitz Tourney all happen right here! We even take this show on the road to Las Vegas 3on3. But, we are not done!
I have believed for sometime that magic happens right outside your comfort zone. You must remain a bit uncomfortable to stay relevant. This can be especially true for organizations that are reluctant to change. It would be easy to rest on the laurels of the Best Basketball Weekend on Earth but we strive for more. We aim to make a continued impact through the game of basketball with the resources that are available to us. So, we stepped outside our comfort zone and redefined how we approach our programs and projects.
This exercise forced us to rethink our brand, as well. We could no longer squeeze any more programs into the Hoopfest brand name. We needed Spokane Hoopfest to stand alone and to be celebrated for what it is. Additionally, we ran into some challenges with Spokane AAU. Locally, it has strong credibility but a lack of independence from other “AAU clubs and tournaments”. Nationally, it had gained a bad reputation and became a catch-all phrase for everything that is wrong with “amateur” basketball. Our current structure also left little room for new programs. So, we asked ourselves, “Now What?”
We answered that by creating our new brand: Spokane Hoops Association (SHA). It is similar enough to be recognizable but a large enough leap to be all encompassing for our programs, current and future. This will allow us to run cleaner and to focus our resources on Creating the Best Basketball Experiences on Earth. Spokane Hoopfest will continue to be SPOKANE HOOPFEST, but we will shrug off the AAU moniker for SHA Elite Basketball League (EBL). The EBL will continue to be our AAU sanctioned league and tournaments, but allow us greater brand independence and afford us the opportunity to explore SHA Competitive Basketball League (CBL) and SHA Developmental Basketball League (DBL). The DBL is already up and running with our K-1 and 2-3 program as we recreate how the game of basketball is delivered to our young athletes. Spokane Hoops in the Community and Spokane Hoops On the Road tie in our other programs and better allows us to tell a more comprehensive story.
This is a very exciting new adventure in the life of Spokane Hoopfest – the rise of Spokane Hoops. We were intentional in maintaining our sense of place by leaving Spokane in our brand. There is only one Hoopfest and it can only happen right here. We are proud to carry that truth and our name with us everywhere we may go.
As we build on the momentum and move culture through the game we love, we ask you to RISE WITH US to the future of Spokane Hoops Association.