Bobby Jacobs says he owns the tournament name "Slam Dunk to the Beach" and he wants the Delaware Sports Commission to stop using that name for its revived tournament.
Dr. Matthew Robinson confirms former tournament director Jacobs has sent a letter telling the group he owns the name and to stop using it to promote the high school basketball tournament.
But Robinson, chairman of the Delaware Sports Commission, said nothing in that letter is factual and that Jacobs doesn't own a trademark on the name.
The commission is excited to bring the tournament back and is confident the tournament will be taking place in December, said Robinson.
Jacobs directed the nationally renowned Slam Dunk tournament that for 13 years, through the 1990s and into the early 2000s, was one of the top high school basketball tournaments in the country. Tournament veterans include LeBron James (2001), Carmelo Anthony (2000), Dwight Howard (2003), Tayshaun Prince (1997) and handful of other future National Basketball Association players.
The tournament was discontinued before the 2004 event, when Jacobs cited health reasons. Jacobs later disappeared among allegations that Slam Dunk had a number of unpaid bills; he was arrested in 2007 in Miami and he later pleaded guilty to forgery and theft charges.
The tournament has been revived by the commission with support from the state. According to its website, the commission is a volunteer organization centered on recruiting quality regional and national sporting events at all levels of competition, utilizing sports facilities, enhancing economic development, and promoting Delaware as a destination for amateur and professional sports.
Robinson said he doesn't know Jacobs, but from what he's heard, he's not surprised by the letter.
“The tournament is no one single person's event. It's a county event, a state event,” said Robinson. “It was a success. It's a shame the way it ended.”
The tournament field was released June 18, with four nationally ranked teams and eight of the Scout.com top-100 players will be taking part. The tournament will run Saturday through Monday, Dec. 27-29, with 14 teams from seven different states and the District of Columbia.
Five Delaware teams will participate in the tournament – Cape Henlopen, Caesar Rodney High, Sanford School, St. Georges Tech and defending state champion Salesianum.