Philadelphia probably hasn't hosted an informal hoops game that drew this much attention since Will Smith was up to no good on the local playgrounds.
With the NBA Lockout dragging on, superstars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul descended upon the City of Brotherly Love. James, Melo and CP3 teamed up for a Goodman League team representing Baltimore while several lesser-known NBAers played on behalf of Philly.
Not surprisingly, the game boasted an excess of highlights (enough to create a top 10 video, which you can watch above) and a paucity of defense. In the end, it was ultimately Team Philadelphia, anchored by Tyreke Evans of the Sacremento Kings, that came out on top 131-122. Once again, a "Big Three" featuring James came up a little short.
Just because the game was an exhibition didn't mean that LeBron got a free pass from the fans in attendance. Fans booed the Miami Heat star mercilessly during the game and according to Sporting News, there were "stretches where [James] glared and snapped back at the boos and taunts from the crowd as if it was a continuation of his Heat’s playoff series against the 76ers last spring."
While James may not have gotten much love from the fans, he shouldn't feel too badly. This town famously booed Santa Claus. Despite the frosty welcome, James gave the fans quite a show, throwing down numerous dunks including a one-handed alley-oop slam.
But with the lockout ongoing and the league formally postponing training camps and canceling preseason games, these exhibitions may be the only way for the public to watch their favorite NBA stars play for some time.
Fittingly (or ironically?), both teams took the floor wearing shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Basketball Never Stops." While the summer league exploits of these stars -- and Kevin Durant who dropped jaws in parks and gyms all over the place during the summer -- have shown that basketball endures, there is no sign that the NBA iteration of the game will be returning any time soon. Anthony admitted that he remains pessimistic about a labor deal being struck soon enough to start the season as scheduled.
“Will we start the season on time? No. But that’s just my opinion," Anthony said. "Hopefully, a miracle will happen and we’ll get a deal done that both parties agree to.”
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