By Shaley Howard

Get ready for the 9th Annual Portland Women’s 3×3 Basketball Tournament! It’s time for summer BBQs, kayaking, picnicking in the park, basking in the sunshine—and fantastic, fun women’s 3×3 basketball!

Now you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal with this tournament? I mean summer basketball tourneys aren’t that unique, right?” Well this one is, because it’s about women—only women. Most basketball tournaments are coed but all are primarily dominated by men. This women’s only 3×3 basketball tournament is easily the largest in the state, possibly the nation. Not to mention a community-oriented event. Each year at least 25 teams of women of all ages and skill levels participate. Whether they’re gym rats, college hoopsters, league champions—short, tall, queer, straight, trans, cisgender, young or old—it’s a tournament for all women.

The event itself is a benefit for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBT non-profit organization in the U.S., with over a million members and supporters. The mission of HRC is to lobby and fight for equality and basic rights for the LGBT community. So far the tournament has netted over $40,000 for HRC! Nike #BeTrue has been the presenting sponsor every year and donates saaawweeet prizes for 1st and 2nd place winners in all four brackets.

In addition to teams of all women playing basketball and loads of spectators picnicking and socializing on the sidelines; there are DJs spinning music all day, a spirit award contest for the team with the most creative outfits and enthusiasm, and a 3-point shooting contest. And this year for the halftime show, Portland’s finest female police officers and firefighters are gonna square off in a tough but sure to be fun “Portland Police vs. Portland Fire & Rescue” showdown exhibition basketball game!

Longtime participant Lisa Sorensen commented, “The 3×3 tournament is such a fun event that the entire family can enjoy. I love this tournament as it helps to promote women in sports and you get to play hoops all day with great people!”

The tournament is also run entirely by volunteers. Whether it’s the people that show up at the crack of dawn to set up or stay to tear down, the DJs spinning music, the referees that work the entire day, the massage therapists easing the pains of the players, or the local vendors who make sure all volunteers are fed—this event runs on local helping hands. All of this community teamwork and fun is packed into one day that supports women in sports and LGBT equality.

“The Portland Women’s 3×3 Basketball Tournament is one of the best queer events Portland has” remarked Michal Mesa, who has attended the tournament from year one. “I look forward to it every year. It’s an event for everyone. There are families, queer youth, queer seniors—and the best part, queer babes playing basketball for a good cause.”

If you’re interested in playing or want additional information, visit hrc.org/pdxbasketball.

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