The Grand Strand is known for many great things: 60 miles of white sandy beaches, natural low country beauty, shopping, entertainment, and attractions. We also can’t forget Hermit Crabs and $.79 Shark-tooth necklaces! Perhaps one of the most interesting reasons why Myrtle Beach has gained national exposure through the decades has been basketball. Specifically – the annual Beach Ball Classic which features 16 teams from all around the country who compete in a tournament to test their mettle against the best and to bring home the championship.
The Beach Ball Classic finds its roots in 1981 as the idea of Dan D’Antoni. If his names sounds familiar, it’s because it is! Coach D’Antoni is a former Lakers assistant and the current coach of Marshall University. His little brother, Mike has also coached the Suns, Knicks, and most recently – the Rockets. Coach D’Antoni wanted to provide a tournament that would put more of a spotlight on east coast teams, and what better place to do it, than in sunny Myrtle Beach?
The tournament first began with 8 teams and has since evolved to include 16. These teams compete annually at the spacious Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which does an absolutely magnificent job of providing a professional type atmosphere for coaches, players, and fans. What’s also very great is the addition of a girls tournament in 1998, which started out as 8 teams and has blossomed into 56!
One of the biggest appeals of the tournament is the chance that you may see a future NBA Hall of Famer play! The Beach Ball Classic has had its share of elite superstars who have went on to have long and storied professional careers. Here’s just a few: Vince Carter (Mainland, FL), Rasheed Wallace (Simon Gratz, PA), Kobe Bryant (Lower Marion H.S.), Kenny Anderson (Archbishop Molloy, NY), Mike Bibby (Shadow Mountain, AZ), Kwame Brown (Glynn Academy, GA), Baron Davis (Crossroads, CA), Kevin Garnett (Mauldin, SC), Grant Hill (South Lakes, VA), Antawn Jamison (Providence, NC), Luke Kennard (Franklin, OH), Jason Kidd (St. Joseph Notre Dame, CA), and Raymond Felton (Latta, SC).
The yearly tournament is also very popular with families who can combine this amazing basketball experience with a quick, Winter getaway. The weather is usually very mild in the winter and many resorts feature indoor pools, lazy rivers, and hot tubs that allow for some great swimming time! Many updated and dynamic resorts such as Grande Shores and Horizon at 77th include special group rates and have experts who can easily help with bookings, room assignments, and meals (check out the link below!).
Whether you are coming down specifically for the BBC or are in town for the holidays, be sure to check it out. This year’s tournament will be held December 26-31st at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Tickets are only $15 a day or $75 for the whole event. It’s fun to go for just one day or to stay for the whole thing! Let’s Go!
Jason Coker is originally from the metropolis of Burlington, NC and is passionate about vacation experiences. Having served on the front lines and behind the scenes of the premier vacation providers of the Grand Strand, Jason has a great understanding of all aspects of this fantastic industry. An aficionado of music, sports, and all things geeky, Jason spends his free time performing music, grilling out, and relaxing with his son, daughter, and lovely wife, Amy.