In case you hadn’t heard, pro basketball is coming to the city of Birmingham, Ala. for the first time in 12 years, an opportunity created by BBVA Compass and announced officially on May 3 at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The game, to be played on October 2, will be showcased at the BJCC, with family-friendly and community-related events leading up to the big day. With the game only 75 days away, check out a list of things you should know about leading up to tip-off.
What to Know about Iron City Showdown
- The game pits the Houston Rockets against the Memphis Grizzlies, with tip-off set for 7 p.m.
- The BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown will be played in Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, the first professional basketball game at the venue in more than a decade.
- As part of the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown, Birmingham is hosting the Iron City Hoop-A-Palooza, a 3v3 basketball tournament that welcomes players of all ages and skill levels. There are Corporate, Elite, Friends & Family, and Youth divisions, all of which will be hosted at various local sites in the weeks leading up to the big game. Anyone interested in playing can visit http://ironcityshowdown.com/events.
- The top Hoop-a-Palooza teams will play their final game on the court during the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown.
- The reigning league MVP will be in attendance for the game.
- The Rockets will be bringing their mascot, Clutch, and Rockets Power Dancers to Birmingham for the first time ever.
- The Rockets will be putting on a full gameday experience for Birmingham, complete with their stellar in-game entertainment – you may even be chosen to participate!
- Doors open a few hours before tipoff – make sure to come early and see the players warm up on the court, pregame performances, player introductions, and the national anthem.
- Preceding the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown, there will be events for a family-friendly atmosphere.
- The BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown is a culmination of BBVA Compass’ commitment to Birmingham and community initiatives like court refurbishments will leave a lasting impact on the city.
- Calling all BBVA Compass clients! Stay turned for more information on experiences and opportunities that only YOU can access at the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown.
- Additional information and behind-the-scenes action can be found on official Iron City Showdown channels - Facebook (@BBVAIronCityShowdown), Twitter (@BBVAShowdown), and Instagram (@BBVAIronCityShowdown).
- To stay updated on all Iron City Showdown news, you can sign up for the e-newsletter.
- Tickets are on sale now, can be found at IronCityShowdown.com.
Get to Know BBVA Compass
- The partnership between BBVA Compass and the Houston Rockets inspired this game to be hosted in Birmingham, home of BBVA Compass headquarters.
- Compass Bancshares became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) in 2007, the second largest bank in Spain. Following the acquisition, Compass Bank was renamed BBVA Compass.
- BBVA Compass is committed to bringing the age of opportunity to everyone, by remaining transparent, surprising, convenient, and empowering for our clients.
- BBVA Compass is active in the sports industry, with longstanding partnerships with both the University of Alabama and Auburn University.
- BBVA Compass was recently named the Best Digital Bank in North America by global finance magazine Euromoney.
- Onur Genç was named CEO of BBVA Compass and U.S. country manager for BBVA Group in January 2017. He also is responsible for BBVA operations in New York and the BBVA Bancomer Houston Agency.
- The BBVA Compass mobile banking app has been recognized by Javelin Strategy & Research for leading the industry in innovative mobile technology and is the recipient of the Best in Mobile Functionality Award.
- BBVA Compass is the only bank in the U.S. that owns our own central processing system. We are leveraging this technology by making it an open platform. Through our banking as a service (BaaS) offering, emerging businesses and startup companies can access our FDIC-certified processing software to power their own innovative products, services, and apps.
About the BJCC & Legacy Arena
- It was in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in December 1977 that hockey legend Gordie Howe, then playing for the WHA's New England Whalers, scored his 1,000th career goal.
- The arena serves under the name Magic City Theater when seating capacity is less than 8,000.
- The arena is also the site of major concert tours, Disney on Ice, American Idol Live!, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, along with other events.
- The BJCC was designed by Geddes Brecher Qualls Cunningham, the winner of what was, at the time, the largest open architectural competition ever organized by the American Institute of Architects.
- In 2009, the BJCC hosted the first round tie of the Davis Cup between the United States and Switzerland. Several tennis stars participated including Andy Roddick, James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan, and Stanislas Wawrinka.
- The arena has hosted the NCAA college basketball tournament serving as first and second round host in 1984, 1987, 2000, 2003 and 2008.
- The BJCC Theater is used for operas, ballets, and smaller concerts and stage shows, and is also home to the Birmingham Children's Theatre, the nation's largest children's theater.
What You Should Know About Birmingham
- Birmingham is the only place in the world where all the ingredients for making iron are present: coal, iron ore and limestone—all within a ten-mile radius.
- Birmingham is known as the founding city for the recognition of Veterans Day and hosts the nation’s oldest and largest Veterans Day celebration.
- Birmingham is the only Deep South city on the North American Indy circuit.
- The Alabama Theatre is one of only a handful of 1920s movie palaces still in operation. The “Mighty Wurlitzer” pipe organ still rises from beneath the theatre floor for live accompaniment to silent movie screenings.
- The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s University Hospital is among the world’s top kidney transplant centers.
- With the opening of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail throughout the state, Alabama has been considered one of America’s Top 10 golf destinations.
- Vulcan, the mythical god of metalworking, is the largest cast iron statue in the world and is second in size only to the Statue of Liberty. The statue was Birmingham’s entry in the 1904 World’s Fair, where it won first place.
- Basketball isn’t the only game in town! The greater Birmingham area was the birthplace of a number of other athletes too, including NFL and MLB legend Bo Jackson and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis.
- Vonetta Flowers, the first African-American to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics (2002 –bobsledding), is a track coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- Birmingham is home to James Beard Foundation Award winners and nominees. People come from around the Southeast to dine at chef-owned restaurants across the city.
- Birmingham is home to the nation’s oldest baseball park, Rickwood Field, which opened in 1910 and hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, Willie Mays and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
- Southern Living, the nation’s most successful regional magazine, is published in Birmingham.
- Birmingham’s world-class musical talent has put the city in the national spotlight with two winners from the mega hit TV show American Idol. Ruben Studdard won in 2003 and Taylor Hicks came home with top honors in 2006. In between, Birmingham’s Bo Bice won first runner-up in the 2005 competition.
- Displaying more than 1,200 vintage and modern motorcycles and racecars, as well as a collection of Lotus cars, Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum houses the largest collection of its kind in the world.
- Birmingham is soon to be home to more than just basketball or baseball – the Birmingham Legion will play their inaugural season next year in the USL, the second division of professional soccer in the United States.
- Birmingham’s Ruffner Mountain, just ten minutes from downtown, is the second largest urban nature preserve in the country.
- Birmingham is also known as “The Magic City” due to the substantial growth the city saw in the early 20th Century.
A Strong History of Basketball
- Robert Horry, Alabama basketball legend, is one of only two players to have won league championships with three teams, two of which were with the Houston Rockets.
- Charles Barkley, born and raised 10 miles outside Birmingham, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.
- Alabama Crimson Tide star Collin Sexton was selected with the 8th pick in the 2018 draft by Cleveland and will have his professional basketball debut this upcoming season.
- Local legend Buck Johnson was selected by the Houston Rockets in the 1st round (20th overall) of the 1986 draft.
- In 2010, Robert Horry was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
About the history of pro basketball
- Basketball became an official Olympic event at the Summer Games in Berlin, Germany in 1936.
- According to Nielsen's demographic survey, the league has the youngest audience among all four major sports leagues, with 45 percent of its viewers under the age of 35.
- James Naismith, a teacher at a YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, is credited with inventing basketball in 1891.
- Boston has won the most league championships (17), including seven straight from 1960 to 1966.
- Two leagues called the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Basketball Association of America (BAA) merged after the 1948-49 season to become today's current league.
- The league season officially begins on October 30, 2018 and will include international games in China and Canada.
Facts about the Houston Rockets
- The team was established as the San Diego Rockets, an expansion team originally based in California in 1967.
- The Rockets moved to Houston in 1971.
- When the Rockets debuted in San Diego, their colors were green and gold.
- The Rockets have won two championships and four conference titles.
- Houston, which was seeded sixth in their conference during the 1995 playoffs, became the lowest-seeded team in the league’s history to win the title.
- Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden have been named the league’s Most Valuable Player while playing for the Rockets, for a total of four MVP awards.
- The team’s General Manager, Daryl Morey, is notable for popularizing the use of advanced statistical analytics in player acquisitions and style of play.
- Olajuwon was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the first overall selection of the 1984 league draft, a draft that included Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.
- The Rockets won only 15 games in their debut season as a franchise in 1967.
- The Rockets did not finish a season with a winning record until the 1976–77 season, when they traded for center Moses Malone.
- In their first season after moving to Houston, the Rockets did not have their own arena. They played their first two years at various venues in the city, including the Astrodome, AstroHall, Sam Houston Coliseum and Hofheinz Pavilion, the latter eventually being adopted as their home arena until 1975.
- In 1995, the Rockets debuted Clutch the Bear as a mascot, a large teddy bear-like mascot that performs a variety of acts during the games.
Getting to Know the Memphis Grizzlies
- The Grizzlies are currently the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the city of Memphis.
- The team was originally established as the Vancouver Grizzlies, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1995–96 season.
- Grizz is the official mascot of the Memphis Grizzlies and has been previously named as the mascot of the year in 2011.
- The Grizzlies have yet to formally retire a number, but have announced plans to retire the #50 that Zach Randolph wore from 2010 to 2017 and Tony Allen’s #9.
- Robert Pera, founder of Ubiquiti Networks Inc., bought the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012 for $350 million.
- The FedExForum, home arena of the Memphis Grizzlies, underwent a 1.8 million dollar renovation in 2017, which included a brand new HD scoreboard four times the size of the former, new HD displays, new LED lighting, and other additional fan amenities.