3STEP Sports, the youth sports club and event operator, has acquired Hoop Group, the grassroots youth basketball brand.
Hoop Group’s history dates back to 1963 when Bob and Pat Kennedy started a summer camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Bob was a high school and college coach and Pat was involved in women’s basketball. The camps attracted some of the top youth players in the country and grew with year-round skill development clinics at all levels of play. In 1991, their son, Rob, bought the Eastern Invitational Basketball camp, joining the family’s other camps to become Hoop Group. In 1998, Bob retired, and Rob took over the business, adding leagues and showcases. He opened a four-court, 25,000-square-foot facility in Neptune, NJ.
“Hoop Group came about out of the important question: How do you answer the phone?” said Rob, Hoop Group’s president. “We have been in grassroots basketball for a long time, and our tagline has always been the same—’ dedicated to fulfilling dreams,’ whether that dream is to make the JV team or go to the NBA. We’re trying to deliver on that.”
Over the years, a who’s who of basketball players have passed through Hoop Group’s doors: 73 Hall of Famers, 148 NBA and WNBA players and 240 McDonald’s All-Americans. In 2022 there have been:
- 57,000 participants
- 225 total events
- 2,500 future scholarship athletes
- 162,000 spectators
- 65 camps
“The unique thing about Hoop Group is that we’re a diversified company,” said Rob Kennedy. “We’re not in any one silo. We focus on skill and player development, giving kids a platform to showcase those skills in front of college coaches. We’re very excited to be joining 3STEP. What they have done to this point is very impressive, and I believe in their vision for youth sports. The beauty of this is that I’m not stepping away from the family business. We get to focus more on the court and grow. We’re about to have our 60th anniversary, and I’m looking forward to our 75th anniversary.”
The 3STEP reach spans 43 states and serves more than 3.2 million athletes across nine sports through events, club programs, and media content. Founded by David Geaslen, 3STEP offers kids sports participation, leadership training and professional development. Its mission is to be the standard of the youth sports experience and create consistency in the industry.
“The sheer number of kids and lives Hoop Group has impacted is remarkable,” said Geaslen. “The rich history and legacy of the Kennedy family have impacted grassroots basketball immeasurably. We are incredibly excited to welcome Hoop Group into the 3STEP family and carry on the legacy of what Bob and Pat Kennedy started in 1963.”