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City of Seattle to Host Basketball and Pickleball Tournaments Downtown, Reenergizing Public Space at Taylor and 5th Ave 

Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan brings excitement and people downtown to basketball tournament this weekend and pickleball tournament next weekend, launches new pickleball court at the Taylor & 5th Ave Plaza  

Seattle – Bringing people, sports, and excitement Downtown this weekend and next, the City of Seattle, Seattle Parks Foundation, Amazon, and other community partners will host the Seattle Slam Showdown youth basketball tournament and Pickleball for All tournament, part of Mayor Bruce Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan (DAP). 

“These tournaments are going to be a ton of fun and an awesome reflection of the new Downtown we are working to build together – a place for residents and neighbors across Seattle to participate in unique events and enjoy all our city center has to offer. These weekends will demonstrate in Downtown how sports create friends, memories, skills, and a sense of belonging. Plus, everyone knows basketball and Downtown Seattle are a match meant to be – past, present, and future,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell

Building on the tournament’s momentum, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will unveil a new permanent pickleball court located at the Taylor and 5th Ave Plaza. The converted plaza will serve as a public pickleball court available to all seven days a week on a first-come, first-serve basis. Resurfacing the Taylor and 5th Ave Plaza was made possible through generous donations from Asteria Pickleball, showcasing the power of public and private investment to support downtown revitalization. In 2024, SDOT will invest nearly $500,000 to enhance the plaza with landscaping and seating. SPR will provide ongoing management, maintenance, and public space activation.   

“The people have a passion for pickleball – and with this new court, we will seek to capture energy and enthusiasm inspired by the nation’s fastest growing sport as part of our ongoing efforts to foster a more vibrant, dynamic, and engaging downtown,” said Mayor Harrell. “This isn’t just one weekend of fun at the end of summer, we are opening Downtown’s door for year-round excitement and healthy activity. I invite all Seattleites – no matter your age, basketball talent, or pickleball prowess – to join me for two unforgettable weekends of sportsmanship, camaraderie, and competition.” 

The Seattle Slam Showdown basketball tournament will occur September 9 and 10 for all youth ages 8-13. The tournament will be located on 5th Ave between Denny St and Wall St. It will bring young people from across the city together to play basketball, connect with local basketball legends, and celebrate the talent, passion, and sportsmanship of Seattle’s youth. Participants connect with mentorship and inspiration. Nearly 200 youth have pre-registered to play, with additional capacity available for walk-up participants. Families, coaches, and youth-serving organizations can learn more about the tournament and register their young people here.  

Pickleball for All, coordinated by the Seattle Parks Foundation, will be held September 16 and 17 on 5th Ave between Denny St and Wall St. Celebrated as the fastest-growing sport in the country, the tournament will welcome players of all ages and experience levels to participate in instructional activities, tournament play, free coaching, food trucks, and more. For more information on the tournament, accompanying events, and parking, visit here.  

“A big thanks to Mayor Harrell and the City of Seattle for hosting a fun and engaging event for Seattleites and investing in bringing more vibrant public spaces to downtown,” said David Zapolsky, Amazon Senior Vice President. “Sports unite and inspire communities, which is why Amazon is proud to sponsor the tournaments, and we wish all the participants luck!” 

Key to Mayor Harrell’s Downtown Activation Plan are efforts and investments that evolve public infrastructure, activate public spaces, and create partnerships that celebrate Seattle’s arts, culture, sports, and entertainment— making downtown neighborhoods a desired place to live, work, visit, and play year-round. In addition to activations like The Seattle Slam Showdown and Pickleball for All, and public space renovations like the new public pickleball court, additional early success of the DAP include re-opening City Hall Park with ongoing programming and activation, completing construction for the 1st and Battery Portal Porch public gathering space, launching Elliot Bay Connections, re-launching the Graffiti Abatement Program with Uplift Northwest with a focus on small businesses in the Chinatown-International District, renewing and expanding the Metropolitan Improvement District and their ongoing safety, cleaning, and hospitality services, filling vacant storefront with small businesses and artists through Seattle Restored, and converting Pike Street between First and Second Avenues into a pedestrian plaza. 


AP Diaz, Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation  

“Summer may be coming to a close, but the fun downtown is still going strong! We love to see people getting active in the streets, on sidewalks, and in parks, and we love that we can expand these opportunities in our downtown. We hope to see you out on the court or cheering on the players this month!”  

Greg Spotts, Director, Seattle Transportation Department  

“Let’s play in the street! SDOT is thrilled to partner with Seattle Parks and Recreation to add pickleball at the Taylor and 5th Ave Plaza. Next year, we’ll invest in landscaping and benches to make the location even more appealing as we continue activating Downtown.” 

Markham McIntyre, Director, Seattle Office of Economic Development 

“Nothing screams ‘thriving Downtown’ more than people of all ages playing games in the street! I am so pumped that we will be closing streets to invite Seattleites to play pickleball and basketball as part of the Mayor’s Downtown Activation Plan. These are the kind of events that showcase our city’s soul – active, creative, and inclusive. A big thank you to our partners for making these events happen. More to come!” 

Alanna McDonald, 10 3×3 Director of Basketball Operations  

“3×3 basketball is a powerful tool for youth development as it teaches teamwork, constructive communication, and well-rounded skillsets for all ages. The format is low barrier, making it an accessible entry point into sports for kids from all around the Puget Sound. I look forward to the positive impact the Seattle Slam will have in the city.” 

Paul Davenport, Jefferson Community Center Coordinator 

“Young people need an outlet and a place to express themselves, as well as opportunities to come together with one another and have positive experiences. Having coached basketball, soccer, track, and t-ball, I get to see firsthand what access to sports affords our youth. My passion is serving community and community starts with our young people. That’s why the 3-on-3 Seattle Slam Showdown on Sept. 9-10 is a wonderful way to give space for these positive sports experiences through basketball. There will be room for fun and community, and we will also have representatives from Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Youth Mentors program engaging with our youth.” 

Tom Graff, Chair, Belltown United 

“The Belltown Community is pleased to support these fun end-of-summer weekend events around basketball and pickleball.   We are also pleased to retain pickleball courts in vacant street ride of way after the event.  Come out and enjoy!” 

Frank Chiappone, President of Seattle Metro Pickleball Association 

“The best thing about pickleball is the community it builds. It’s an incredibly inclusive sport that can be played by folks of all generations and abilities. Not only is the sport exploding in popularity over the last two years, but it’s getting younger and more diverse. That’s because it’s easy to learn, fun to play, and addictively social.” 

Dmitry Ivanenko, CEO Astria Pickleball  

“Astria Pickleball is dedicated to serving the community. Pickleball is ageless and open to everyone, from top athletes to small children, and is even possible for people with mobility challenges. Pickleball saved my life after I fell off a cliff last year. It changed my focus and my way of thinking, and it brought amazing people into my life. The passion for pickleball is best shared, so my team and I have dedicated hours and energy to upgrading the courts in downtown Seattle. My hope with supporting this space is that people will come here to play, relax, have fun, unwind, and find balance in their lives.” 

John Richards, KEXP DJ and Host of Pickleball for All’s Community Celebration on Saturday, September 16 

“I started playing pickleball a few years ago in my neighborhood after the death of my sister. I had stopped playing tennis years prior and missed being on the court. Soon I learned there were games at the parks in West Seattle and I started showing up and found a welcoming community of people who love being outside, competition and being in our parks. I soon met people I may have never encountered if it weren’t for pickleball. It was a cross section of people young and old and from all walks of life. I had never experienced that kind of community just playing tennis, or really any other sport I can think of.”