41st Annual Beach Ball Classic tips off in Myrtle Beach, honors former mayor

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 12:52 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 27, 2021 at 7:23 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A well-known basketball tournament featuring elite high school athletes from across the country has returned to the Grand Strand.

The 41st Annual Beach Ball Classic kicked off Monday afternoon at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and the John T. Rhodes Myrtle Beach Sports Center.

The event first started in 1981 and the tournament consisted of eight teams, four from in-state and four from out of state. Now the tournament has grown to 16 teams from around the country.

It also provides the opportunity for people to come to the Grand Strand who may have never visited in the first place. Chad Smith, the organizer of the event, hopes that those involved in the tournament will make a trip back to Myrtle Beach.

“This is the kind of in a season where there’s not a lot going on and so our tournament this week and our girls’ tournament last week brings a lot of people to Myrtle Beach that wouldn’t normally be here. And we hope they come back in the summertime and experience it in the summer,” Smith said.

Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes helped to put the Beach Ball Classic on every year. He lost his battle to COVID-19 earlier in the year. The tournament this year will honor his memory and on Tuesday, family members will take part in a ceremony at 7 p.m. to remember him and everything he gave to the tournament.

The tournament will run through Thursday, Dec. 30, and will include the traditional division and a prep school division.

According to the city of Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach High School boys team will not be competing in the tournament this year due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Officials said the decision was announced on Sunday.

For more information on the Beach Ball Classic, including times and ticket information, click here.

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