Basketball just part of Mike Picore’s life |

Basketball just part of Mike Picore’s life

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Mike Picore picks up his cell phone and shakes it.

“There’s probably 50 or 60 people that just play basketball in here,” he said. “I pretty much know everyone in the valley that plays basketball.”

Such is life for the 32-year-old Wyoming import, who’s made a name for himself on the asphalt hoops courts at Sayre Park. Picore really doesn’t have a rich basketball background. He actually participated in track and field at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D.

“I’ve pretty much always just played pick-up basketball,” he said.

But Picore’s love for pick-up hoops is how he found social belonging in the Roaring Fork Valley. A fresh face to the area back in 1999, he took to the basketball court, where he both played the game he loved and made friends.

After talking it over with some of the other pick-up diehards in the area, Picore realized the want for a local tournament. Working for Bank of Colorado at the time, he was well-networked to find sponsors for such a thing. In July of 2000, he started the 3-on-3 Hoop D’Ville tournament at Sayre Park.

From a meager, informal start, the tourney has morphed into something much bigger. Back in 2000, eight teams signed up. In 2007, Picore’s 3-on-3 creation involved 26 teams. In 2001, Hoop D’Ville took on a 4-on-4 form as well, making for two annual tournaments.

“It’s become a pretty big tournament,” he said. “It’s evolved from me and some friends going downtown and spending the $100 we made on the tournament to donating to various local charities.”

Angel Project, CARE, the Glenwood Springs High School basketball team and the Denver-based Yaffe House are now among the beneficiaries of the summer tournaments.

And so, as a result of his tournament-founding efforts, involvement in local recreational basketball leagues and his affinity for pick-up ball, Picore is thought of as a basketball guru of sorts. He constantly fields phone calls from people wanting to know what the local hoops hot spots are or how to sign up for various city leagues, even though he has no true affiliation with local parks and recreation departments.

He doesn’t seem to mind so much. After all, basketball helped him socially adapt in a new place when he moved from South Dakota nearly nine years ago.

“Sometimes it’s hard to break into a community,” Picore said. “I was an outsider when I was first here. It’s hard to break into groups, but I kind of did it through basketball.”

It’s logical to infer that Picore spends many a night playing ball. So what does he do during the day? The 32-year-old bases his job as a home mortgage consultant for Wells Fargo out of Basalt. He’s gradually climbed the banking business ladder since arriving in the valley after triple-majoring in accounting, marketing and business administration at Black Hills state, from which he graduated in 1998.

Picore and his fiancee, Kristi Bradford, recently moved into a house in New Castle’s Lakota Canyon. They plan to marry in June of 2008.

Life is good for Picore, who’s settled in nicely as a valley resident. And his love for competition keeps him plenty busy.

Outside of basketball, golfing, rock climbing, playing in rec softball leagues, poker and fantasy football all work to satiate Picore’s competitive appetite.

“I stay pretty competitive,” he joked.

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