This year’s Red Bull King of the Rock World Finals will take place at the Mali Kalemegdan venue in Serbia's capital. After 64 qualifying tournaments held on four continents, the one-on-one street basketball season will come to an end at this historical BC Red Star court.
On September 17, 32 street ball players will battle for the Red Bull King of the Rock title, right where basketball was born in Serbia. Located at the heart of Belgrade Fortress, Mali Kalemegdan was founded by Romans in the first century. Devastated and renovated several times in its history, it will now host street ball finalists coming from over 20 countries.
Iconic locations are a trademark of the street basketball culture. After the Alcatraz prison, the Samasana Island and the rooftop of the Beykoz Leather and Shoe Factory in Istanbul, this year’s venue will bring the Serbian spirit to the event. And with 2.500 spectators attending the last national Red Bull King of the Rock at Mali Kalemegdan, there's no doubt about the popularity of the game in the country.
Defending champion Kivanc Dinler won the World Final in 2014 and 2015. He has a chance to take a third title this year, beating Hugh “Baby Shaq” Jones from the US who won the tournament twice in 2011 and 2012. Besides Serbia and Turkey, Red Bull King of the Rock finalists come from Lithuania, Argentina, Russia, Montenegro, Estonia, Poland, Angola, South Africa, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Kuwait, Romania, Philippines, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Georgia and Lebanon.
The battles take a straightforward form, where players battle head-to-head in a raw, outdoor basketball, using a single-elimination format. Games last five minutes and are subject to regulation hoops rules and scoring (two and three pointers). Players have to be tough and play smartly – five fouls equals an automatic loss. After each game, the winner faces the next opponent.