Airmen tear up the blacktop for cash; 5 Dover Airman win $2000 in traveling basketball tournament

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman James Bolinger
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Several Dover members won $2,000 in cash playing in the Scion Slam traveling basketball tournament this year. 

The Scion Slam Tournament is a basketball tournament sponsored by the Toyota Scion, for DoD identification card holders only. Contestants enter the tournament for free, and if they place first, can win $1,000 cash. 

Teams consist of three to four people who play in a single-elimination-style tournament. As many as 64 teams can compete in each tournament. 

Contestants in the tournament can also compete in 3-point and free-throw competitions.
After hearing about the tournament in 2005, Staff Sgt. Stephen Hyppolite, 436th Medical Group, accompanied two teams from Dover who went to watches the contest at Fort Belvoire, Va. The tournament sponsors said the tournament was coming back in 2006, so Hyppolite formed a team. 

Kolsom Ballard, spouse of a Dover Airman, Senior Airman Jerome Jenkins, 436th Security Forces Squadron, and Howard Gibson joined Hyppolite in 2006 and the four went to Fort Belvoire to test their skills on the blacktop. 

"We competed against 50 to 60 teams," said Hyppolite. "The competition was tough, and we came in second place." 

The prize for second place was $500. 

"We made friends with the organizers who liked the way we played," said Hyppolite. "They told us we should come to (Naval Station) Norfolk, Va., in a few weeks. They said we were good enough to win it, so we decided to go." 

The team took the advice of the organizers and entered themselves into the field. They played some tough ball but eventually came out on top, winning the Norfolk Tournament and $1000. 

Two tournaments and $1,500 later, the team decided to try again. At the suggestion of the tournament organizers, they once again entered into the contest, this one in Rhode Island. 

"Jerome (Jenkins) couldn't go to Rhode Island with us so we grabbed another player, Staff Sgt. John Saffold, 3rd Airlift Squadron, and we placed second," said Hyppolite. 

Taking second place in the tournament wasn't the only thing the team won while playing in Rhode Island. 

Ballard won the free-throw competition and $500 cash. 

"He made 10-for-10 in the competition," said Hyppolite. "It has been great; we won $2,000 just playing basketball." 

The team plans to compete in next years Scion Slam if it is close to Dover.