Houston Texans Training Camp 2015

Almost fresh off the plane from Guatemala, I headed to the Houston Texans training camp to photograph the team's practice for the Houston Press. Around the perimeter of the field were hundreds of screaming fans who used their voices the loudest when 99 came running around the corner. Fan favorite is an understatement. I've never shot at a training camp before so I was surprised to find out the rules of engagement. During certain portions of the practice, there was no shooting allowed. No stills, no video, no shitty flip phones. Except Hard Knocks, of course. They can do whatever they want. There were one on one drills, passing drills, blocking drills, red zone drills and any other kind of drill you could imagine. And accompanying those drills were screaming coaches. Shout out to morning practices, the heat is a lot less official then.


BallUp Houston - The Game

Last week, I showed a few highlights from the BallUp open tryout held across the street from the Houston Rockets' Toyota Center. Today, I'll show you some highlights from the game. If you remember from the previous blog post, ten lucky, local hoopers competed for the chance to play the BallUp team. Well, those ten nine lucky local hoopers got destroyed by Team BallUp. Team Houston started with ten players but one got unceremoniously benched after accidentally injuring a BallUp player, The Bone Collector. 

Hofheinz Pavilion, once home to Phi Slama Jama, was jumping and ready for the on court 5th of July fireworks. It was not disappointed. Team BallUp opened the game with back to back backdoor alley-oops and they never looked back. Despite being coached by the swag legend, Nick Young, Team Houston would never take the lead. Streetball favorites The Professor, Air Up There, Sik Wit It and AO put on a show. Bone Collector got hurt after a guy from Team Houston slipped on a floor decal and into him. Bone Collector then watched the replay on an iPad in the locker room.

Shout out to Tracy Murray and his 50 point game. If you've ever wondered what Tracy Murray is up to these days, he's coaching Team BallUp! 


BallUp Houston - Open Run

BallUp is a streetball tour with an official team that goes from city to city giving fans a show with high flying alley-oops and ankle breaking crossovers that often embarrass courageous defenders. In the morning, an open tryout is held for the locals to compile a team of ten to compete against the BallUp squad. In the evening, the ten locals try to hold their own and not get run out of the gym in their own city.

On a Sunday in early July, BallUp came to Houston and sought out talent at Root Memorial Park across the street from the Toyota Center. About 75-100 guys showed up, registered, went through drills and played games to show who was best. A handful of players showed how well they could shoot, how high they could jump and how terrible their game was right at the beginning of the tryout.

After a couple of hours, the final ten were chosen and a match up with the BallUp team was looming in the very near future. Here are a few of the highlights. Shout out to SwaggyP who coached the H-Tine team.


Dr. Michael Gonzalez for the Houston Chronicle

Dr. Michael Gonzalez is the director and part of a team of doctors involved with the ETHAN program. ETHAN is Houston's answer to busy emergency rooms and unnecessary ambulance runs. It's a program that allows people who call 911 to have a video conference with an actual doctor to determine if they need an ambulance trip to the ER or just an appointment to the nearest clinic. I'll let you read more about it here. Shout out to Houston Fire Station 8!


Damari Rubio and Umair Khan for the Houston Chronicle

Damari Rubio and Umair Khan design gloves and dresses, respectively and I photographed them in their studio in Spring Branch for the Houston Chronicle. Read a little more about them here! Shout out to Joy Sewing on the keyboard and your boy on the camera.


Houston Rockets Power Dancers - The Audition

I usually spend my Saturday mornings on a basketball court indulging in excessive buckets. Last weekend's Saturday morning activities took place on a similar surface. Competition ensued, athletic feats were performed and midriffs were bare. The Houston Rockets Power Dancers held their annual tryouts for the 2015-2016 basketball season at the University of Houston's Wellness Center. I don't know how many women actually showed up, but there were a lot. They began by warming up and stretching, learning and memorizing a routine taught by one of the RPD coaches and then separated into groups of 5 for further evaluation. I rolled out before the cuts were made but you can find out who will make the squad on July 2, 2015 at the House of Blues at 7pm!