Basketball is more than a sport -- it's a religion. Beyond that, it's an addiction. Just look at what happens when young cagers get their hands on anything that bounces, rolls, or spins. The need to dribble and break ankles is deep-rooted in the soul of a true-blue hoopster. This weekend worshippers get to show their b-ball devotion in the parking lot of Pro Player Stadium at the 2003 NBA Hoop It Up, the annual half court competition of the best three-on-three and five-on-five community teams. With more than 100 half courts ready for tipoff, the event promises to bring out some of the most skilled players in town -- from elementary-aged kids to silver-haired believers. Teams compete in groups of similar height and ability working through round-robin elimination challenges. Players with college or professional experience will get down and dirty in Hoop It Up's Top Gun ladder, where the top two male and female teams travel to Los Angeles to vie for the national championship. -- Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Play begins at 9:00 a.m. today and Sunday, May 4. Registration costs $120 per team ($185 for Top Gun division). Call 877-723-8106 or log on to www.nbahoopitup.com.
For the Birds Eat outdoors with feathered friends
You love being outside among birds -- watching them, tracking them, listening to them sing, and hanging out with other bird lovers. You must be a member of the Tropical Audubon Society, the organization devoted to observing the winged critters in practically every park around the state. If you aren't, here's the ultimate opportunity to commune with your fellow bird lovers. From noon to 2:00 p.m. the Tropical Audubon Society Picnic and Annual Meeting will take place at the Doc Thomas House (5530 Sunset Dr., South Miami) in the back yard under the chickee. It's potluck, so make the meal of your choice. Cooking up quail for everyone might be a bad idea, though. Call 305-666-5111 and tell them what you'll bring.-- Nina Korman