This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A dodgeball team led by Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams was defeated 2-1 by a Los Angeles-based squad Saturday during the finals of the second annual Dodge Barrage charity tournament at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Williams' team known as the Ghostbusters was fleshed out by teammates Ronnie Price and Al Jefferson, while ex-Jazz player and current Chicago guard Kyle Korver helped out.
"It was great, man," Price said. "It was just great to know that a professional dodgeball team flew out here to participate in this. The fact that we could even compete with them was just fun. They had too much game. They beat us up so bad, you almost want to take them out on the basketball court and get revenge."
Dominated during the first game and down 1-0, the defending-champion Ghostbusters rallied to push the contest to a third and final match. That game which featured several plays that were intensely disputed and questioned ended with a redux, though. A highly contested, heated last match then saw the winded Ghostbusters dwindle down to Jefferson and a nimble teammate before a team composed of Los Angeles and Baltimore, Md., members captured the championship.
"For us, our most important thing is spreading moustache awareness, and making sure that people know that [actor] Charles Bronson will live forever," said a straight-faced and thick-moustached team leader Michael Costanza, 36, a Los Angeles resident.
Williams and Price stood out the strongest for the Ghostbusters, while Jefferson turned into a human shield that occasionally gobbled hard- and fast-flying balls. Williams' game featured a nasty running 360-degree spin shot; Price displayed multiple flying splits as he leapt over shots.
But the NBA-heavy Ghostbusters paled when compared to a title-winning team whose talent and precision were only eclipsed by a hipster-leaning fashion sense highlighted by Costanza's decision to put on a wrinkled, gray "Black Mamba No. 24" T-shirt for the final match.
"They were good, man," Korver said. "They knew what they were doing. They obviously do this a lot. It seemed like they had set plays. Obviously, we wish it had been like a best-of-five or best-of-seven series. But it is what it is. It was fun."
Sixty-four teams competed in the day-long charity tournament. And while the Ghostbusters were easily the main attraction, numerous squads wore team-specific clothing specifically designed for the event.
"It was a really successful day. We didn't win. But other than that, it went as good as it possibly could," Korver said.
He added: "I met a lot of great people in Salt Lake [City]. Made a lot of great friendships that will last forever. I'll always come back for this thing. ... This tournament will always be here, as long as everyone wants to keep on doing it."
Williams who strapped on eye goggles for tournament play said during a pregame press conference that he is considering adding a second tournament stop in Chicago.
"It's just fun," Williams said. "I don't know why we picked dodgeball. But it's something that we thought would be fun and be a little different. There's always the golf tournaments, the dinners, stuff like that. We wanted to do something different. Just have fun. Something that more people could afford. And so we came up with this."
Brian T. Smith