After months of anticipation, the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown tipped off last night at 7 p.m. at Legacy Arena in front of 16,888 fans in attendance, culminating in a 131-115 Houston Rockets win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The high-profile sports experience, made possible through BBVA Compass' relationship with the Houston Rockets, was the first pro-basketball game played in Birmingham in 12 years. The preseason game was initially announced in August 2017 by the Houston Rockets and the bank in front of 800 Parker High School juniors and seniors.
Smith: BBVA Compass was excited to bring this to its home town.
"The game's name and opponent was announced on May 3, so while the excitement has been building for a few months, this initiative was planned over the course of more than a year," said BBVA Compass Birmingham CEO Andrea Smith. "There were so many moving parts to bring and execute the campaign, and the result was an amazing, star-studded game, multiple community initiatives, and satisfied sports fans. BBVA Compass was excited to bring this to its home town."
The BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown has brought together fans and families from across the Birmingham area that began with events over the summer, such as a 3-on-3-basketball tournament, the Iron City Hoop-A-Palooza. Teams competed across four divisions, including Youth, Family & Friends, Elite and Corporate. The tournament began in July, with first-round games taking place on July 21, July 28, and August 11 at 12 different locations across Birmingham. One of the championship rounds was held before the game tipped off.
BBVA Compass also fully funded court refurbishments near Legion Field in celebration of the game. The bank hosted a star-studded ribbon cutting at the courts the day before the game, featuring city leaders, bank representatives, former professional basketball players, and current Houston Rockets players.
From left to right: Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and BBVA Compass Birmingham CEO Andrea Smith | Photo: Houston Rockets
Mayor Woodfin: This is what happens when we knock down silos and build up partnerships.
"I want to thank BBVA Compass for stepping up as an area business leader and making it their mission to help enhance the park facilities that serve this community," said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin at the event. "I also want to thank the Houston Rockets and the Birmingham Parks and Recreation Board for their participation. Their teamwork, public service and unconditional love of Birmingham helped make this project – and future projects – a success for the Magic City. This is what happens when we knock down silos and build up partnerships."
BBVA Compass brand ambassador and former pro basketball player Robert Horry and BBVA Compass Birmingham CEO Andrea Smith surprised Courtney Pruitt and Jalen Hall of Children's of Alabama on Oct. 2 with the special opportunity of being a Rocket for a Day at the BBVA Compass Iron City Showdown.
In other community-minded initiatives, Children's of Alabama, BBVA Compass and the Houston Rockets joined together at the BJCC in advance of the game for a contract signing to make two patients from the hospital honorary Houston Rockets for the day. Jalen Hall and Courtney Pruitt signed their ceremonial one-day contracts to become honorary Rockets alongside Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown and Rocket Legend and Alabama native Robert Horry.
"I've teamed up with BBVA Compass many times, and every time I do, it's for something that is going to improve the places they call home," said Horry.