TO the excited screams of "Up! Up! Up!", Jermaine Jackson shot his way into history as the Red Bull King of Jamrock, during the exciting final showdown of the Red Bull King of the Rock competition on Saturday, July 28, at the Train Station in downtown, Kingston.
The event incorporated the normal one-on-one basketball set-up where players went head-to-head on a specially designed outdoor court at this iconic venue, using a single elimination tournament bracket. The rules and scoring were the same as regular hoops, with shots either counting as two or three points and five fouls being an automatic L. Players engaged in four intense half-court games simultaneously, with each game having its own referee, court manager and scoreboard.
Thirty-two players, including two females selected from qualifiers held in Montego Bay and Kingston on July 14 and 21 respectively, battled valiantly in the fast-paced finals which from start to end mirrored the intensity of an NBA game.
But it was once again Jackson, the entertaining self-assured Selassie Gardens Club player who was crowned King of Kingston just one week before, who took top honours in the final of the one-on-one basketball tournament.
By continuing his masterful display of basketball skills, Jackson enthralled the packed venue and dismissed all his opponents — his final match against Andrew Goulbourne ended at 12-5 — to take the much coveted US$1,000 prize and an all-expenses paid trip to the global finals at Alcatraz this September.
Speaking after his win, the lanky player noted that "Red Bull King of the Rock was a great experience for me".
"I love basketball and coming into this tournament I was confident I had what it took to win. It's great to be king and now I'm just looking forward to representing Jamaica at Alcatraz in September. I'm just going to go and do my best," Jackson noted.
Jackson will indeed have to maintain that confidence and stunning balling ability when he faces off against the world's best in the most famed prison yard, which once housed some of America's most notorious criminals.
In 2010, Red Bull King of the Rock went down in history as the first official sporting event ever to be held on Alcatraz and the first time basketball had been played on 'The Rock' since the inmates left the island over 50 years ago.
Now in its third year, the global one-on-one basketball tournament will return with the most competitive field to date and the international landmark will come alive with basketball action as 64 aspirants from 25 countries will lace up to vie for the grand prize of US$20,000 and the title of 2012 Red Bull King of the Rock.