Basketball

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The Independent Culture
The World Invitation Basketball Championship at Crystal Palace has firmly established itself as a prime attraction at this time of year, with a clutch of the best domestic teams and some overseas exotica to spice up the occasion.

For this year's event - tomorrow, Sunday and Monday - the hosts will be three of the top four sides in the Budweiser League: London Towers, London Leopards and Thames Valley Tigers. The Towers will have their talismanic American forward, Tony Windless, despite his recent disqualification for fighting - fortunately for them, as they've won eight games in a row since his arrival - while the Tigers can boast the free-scoring England international, Steve Bucknall.

The international line-up includes Glasgow Brightsiders, the wonderfully named Dance Honved from Hungary, plus Avenida General Rocados and the daunting Bulgars, CSKA Sofia. There are men's, women's and junior competitions, besides hands-on opportunities for the crowd, with slam-dunk contests and three-point shoot-outs. A very fine way to see in the new year.

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre (081-778 0131)

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