Dean Cruickshank (aka Ginger Shaq) lives and breathes basketball. He is a die-hard NBA fan and is massively involved in the UK basketball scene. Co-manager of NBAUKFans (with thousands of followers on social media) Dean loves the game. In his own words, here's Dean's take on being a volunteer:
Meeting the GG3x3
I’m sitting at the Drop Live 11/11 Event in Covent Garden in November 2017 and I recognise the logo on this guy’s t-shirt.
It dawns on me it’s the ‘GG3x3’ Logo and that’s where my journey with the GG3x3 begins. It’s first time I met Martin, the face and founder of something that’s vastly dear to my heart now.
Sadly, cancer is something that has ravaged and affected so many people’s lives, whether that’s sufferers themselves, or the people closest to them. Seeing someone who had gone through so much heartache and pain, fighting his own emotions and striving to help the battle against cancer by raising money in the name of his friend through the medium of the sport which they both loved - it wasn’t a question for me, I needed to be involved and help in whatever way that I could.
The day begins
Fast-forward and it’s September 2nd 2018. After hundreds of hours of hard work and planning, it’s ‘The GG3X3 2018’. I arrived at JFS at around 8.20am and it was all hands on deck. When Martin said we needed to create 2 basketball courts he wasn’t joking! Literally from scratch, from the 3PT Line to the actual rims, it all needed created and made. Thus ensued an insane few hours of court construction for all of the volunteers involved (outside in a very warm Sunday).
Around 1.30pm it was ready to go, we had 2 brand new basketball rims constructed and 2 measured courts - it was go time, the players were ready the music was flowing and soon the basketball would be too.
Being a scorer
I was tasked to be a scorer for the Elite Category, which was a struggle because these guys did not mess around, the scoring and play was fast.
On a couple of occasions, I needed to remember that I was scoring because I was so distracted by the high level of basketball - some of the best teams around the country were battling it out for the coveted GG3X3 trophy.
The sun was high and the heat increased, it wasn’t easy for me and I was scoring! I can only imagine how the players and officials were feeling. When I did get a chance to take a break I realised just how many people were in attendance, from basketball influencers, podcasters, YouTubers and professional players (Lamar Roberts - London Lions, Ashley Hamilton - London City Royals) to all the wonderful people there for the love of the game and supporting the teams and the cause.
The dunk contest
Once the Round Robin games had finished it was time for the Dunk Contest, which was a spectacle and that was before the first ball was even thrown down!
There was a judging panel which included the Prestigious Dunk Elite and 2 x BBL Players. The dunkers needed to step up and they really did. We had 360 rim smashing throw-downs, it was insane, the room was bouncing and so was the judging panel. Clearly the sight of seeing some of the dunks ignited that constant fire inside Dunk Elite’s Jordan Southerland (7x International Dunk Champion) who proceeded to throw down a insane through the legs Eastbay, which was a sensation to see.
The day comes to a close
I was helping pack away the outside courts but caught the end of the Elite final seeing Bubble & Squeak crowned as the GG3x3 Champions, and the beautiful moment of them being presented with the trophy by George’s parents was a moment I’ll cherish.
It was at that point a sadness hit me, the GG3x3 was over for the year. But what an amazing day of bonding and creating new relationships and a shed load of money raised for a beautiful cause in a beautiful way.
Roll on 2019, I’ll be back and so will the GG3x3 #Ball4Life
Follow Dean on social media by clicking here @GingerShaq
A GG3x3 DAY IN THE LIFE OF: A VOLUNTEER