ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — One Illinois state senator’s passion has led to an annual tradition in the stateline, as “Hoopstars 3-on-3 Tournament” took place at the UW Health Sports Factory on Monday.

It was the ninth year for the free event, which gives 5th-8th grade boys and girls a chance for some Labor Day fun.

“For one, it’s a positive activity to do on Labor Day and that’s always a good thing, but what’s really cool about this tournament, I love looking out across the courts and seeing players from all over the community, every neighborhood, right,” said 34th District State Senator Steve Sadelman. “It’s a diverse pool of players, and I think we need more things like this in Rockford.”

“I mean, it’s cool,” added one player. “Everybody gets to play, we get to have fun before school starts, everything.”

“Just have fun with our friends and play basketball,” another said.

Stadelman has put on the tournament since 2013, and he is excited that it is becoming a stateline tradition. “On the Waterfront,” Rockford’s longtime Labor Day staple, ended more than a decade ago, so the senator hoped to create a new holiday tradition.

The event took place at Patriots Gateway in years past before moving to Davis Park. The action took place at the UW Sports Health Factory on Monday in its second year back since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When you’ve been in for nine years, you see high school kids, college kids wearing the old ‘Hoopstars’ t-shirt, so it shows you the longevity of the tournament, but it’s just a lot of fun,” Stadelman said. “You know, I play basketball, my kids play basketball, coach basketball. It’s always been a big part of my life, and so, it’s kind of my way to get back to the community, you know, offering something I love to do and giving the kids a chance, play some basketball.”

Monday’s event was a great success, with a ton of people going out to celebrate their Labor Day weekend as a community. One could say that it was a “slam dunk.”