2019 HALL OF FAME NOMINEE: Reid Nelson

Nelson interviewing NBA star Carmelo Anthony at LIFE TIME at SKY Grand Opening in New York City in June 2016.

Nelson interviewing NBA star Carmelo Anthony at LIFE TIME at SKY Grand Opening in New York City in June 2016.

Ultimate Hoops leagues have changed a lot since 2012. There are plenty of natural reasons why our leagues have grown and evolved in the past seven years, but one of the main reasons has been because of the work of Reid Nelson.

Nelson began working for Ultimate Hoops in February 2012 as the Minnesota Regional Coordinator. He oversaw the most successful region in all of Ultimate Hoops in that time, helping it thrive by producing and co-hosting “This Week in Rec” with current UH Hall of Famer Izzy Elkaffas. This was before Facebook Live made it easy to do quick post-game shows that got shared instantly. Nelson had to edit each video, which included highlight clips, and upload them at the end of each week.

Nelson was promoted to the national level in 2015. In his time leading the leagues team, the number of leagues and the number of players across UH Nation both increased year over year. He helped expand the Las Vegas National Tournament from 16 to 24 teams and helped get the Ney York National Tournament off the ground in 2017. Growing up as a sports fan helped him understand one of the missions of Ultimate Hoops: Treat every player like a professional. This is what led to two of his lasting legacies.  

The first was the Dream League. The original idea of the Dream League was to create a rec league that gave its players the closest feeling possible to being an NBA player. This meant having teams run by GMs who would draft, cut, pick up and trade players. The league started in January 2016 and is in the midst of its fourth season right now, with Nelson still contributing on its weekly podcast, The Dream League Insider. It is the highest form of UH basketball with the most expansive media coverage, including a weekly podcast and a live stream of every game. Even though Nelson stopped working full time for Ultimate Hoops in the fall, players demanded the Dream League stick around due to their love for the league Nelson created.

Nelson hired me to be the media associate for the Dream League before its first season. He’s the main reason why I’m able to write this today, and broadcasting the Dream League each Monday night continues to be the favorite part of my job. 

Nelson also invented what he is being nominated for, the Ultimate Hoops Hall of Fame. He came up with the idea to honor the most dedicated players and contributors across UH with this platform, and it’s only fitting for him to get his due now that he is eligible.