Basketball in the mall, Queensbay Mall, in Bayan Lepas to be exact. World Hoops Basketball just opened their indoor 3X3 basketball court on the 3rd Floor at the mall. I was walking along the shops in the mall when I saw kids playing basketball through the glass panes. I was going to continue on but decided to turn back cos, well, there were kids playing street basketball in a designated place for it at the mall. That was something worth checking out, I reckoned.
Basketball in the mall
A permanent basketball court in a shopping mall is just too fun to give a pass. There are 2 courts or half-courts. These are 3X3 basketball courts, where the rules call for a maximum 6 players, 3 on each side playing on half a court of the original basketball court. Compared to the original 5X5 basketball with 10 players, the 3X3 is a condensed, faster and more physical version of basketball.
|Fun fact: 3X3 basketball made its debut in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.|
Suffice to say, the 3X3 basketball was a big success in Tokyo. I did a little reading up on World Hoops when I got back home. I found out that World Hoops is a sporting organisation in Penang. They offer basketball programs, camps and events for all ages and levels. It also hosts professional 3X3 tournaments. It claims to the the Premier FIBA 3X3 Organiser in Southeast Asia. All these sounded quite interesting to me. But what got me really interested were the courts in the mall.
Playing outdoor is not appealing these days and basketball is usually played outdoors. The weather is so hot, even in the evenings. There are some covered courts in the housing estates, but generally they are very common. So, it is nice to have an alternative, though this one comes with a cost.
I always believed that with shops going online, malls will need to repurpose, even if the repurposing is going back to an old idea. I remember when Star Parade opened in the early 2000s they had a skating rink. It didn’t last very long. Over the years, there would always be some sports event held at the mall as part of their activities/programmes but they rarely had the staying power like bowling. What I really like about World Hoops is it’s something different. Old idea but maybe more relevant for now.
So, I walked in and chatted with 2 ladies who were running World Hoops Basketball. Turns out the place was actually spanking new. They were only in the second week of opening. Two groups of kids were in the courts playing. I was told that these were the first indoor courts of such kind in Penang. I told her it was quite cool (also literally) to have such kind of facility at the mall. Kind of like a stadium but more accessible.
The place was just large enough for 2 courts, with a little space to spare on every side. The floor was a non-slippery foam like material. That means if you fall, you are less likely to get abrasions on your skin. Additionally, the material makes a soft landing for the players too. I think this beats the hard cement any time.
World Hoops has an automatic shooting machine!
World Hoops Basketball even has an automatic basketball launcher! Now, how cool can it get? I think most of us have not seen such a machine in action, let alone try one. So if you want some serious training, it’s possible here. According to the person in charge, this is the first of its kind in Penang. I am not sure how true that is but still, I think it’s pretty cool to be able to have a machine shoot balls for you to catch so that you can shoot the ball into the hoop continuously. There is so much you can do with such a machine ever ready to shoot balls at you without you having to run all over the place.
The place is still new. So they are having a promotion now. Rental of court is RM88 during non peak hours. For peak hours rental runs between RM99 – RM119. Peak hours are from 5 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. They also have court membership packages which you can subscribe to. For example, you can book for a 4 slots per month at RM360 for now during the promotion period. Normal rate would be RM550. You will have access to 15 balls for one session. The number of such sessions increases with the longer length of subscribed membership. A maximum of 10 people are allowed per session.
World Hoops also runs another 3X3 Basketball court at Paragon Mall which opened at the end of 2017. That was their first permanent professional 3X3 basketball court. Many competitions have been organised there since then. Incidentally, World Hoops was started by a lady. I guess such kind of business also reflects the passion for the game that the founder has for basketball. You have got to love the game to do something like this.
3X3 basketball has been running for ages in backyards, parks and back lanes. It was a game kids would play on the streets. However, it wasn’t till 2007, when it was featured in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. It has grown from strength to strength since then. And like many other games which have evolved or are evolving, 3X3 basketball is a game that also reflects the world today where space, speed and simplicity shape many of the things we have around us.
It is definitely a good that World Hoops Basketball in the malls with its most recent addition. It will probably be quite appealing to kids that they can play basketball in the mall, with shoppers who are passing by able to share the game through the glass panes. Having opportunities like this can only be good for the development of this sports for the kids and young people of Penang.
Basketball in a mall. Who would have thought of that a decade or two ago? But its presence in Queensbay Mall is also a sign of the changes to come. Malls will continue to evolve too, like the sports of basketball. So what other business models do you think malls should be encouraging or looking into?
You may also be interested in: