So, this is what happens when the National Basketball Association faces a lockout?
If such a lockout allows me to see NBA players facing off against NBA players (with a few amateur players sprinkled in) in exhibition-style games, I hope the lockout never gets resolved.
That is obviously greedy of me. However, after seeing the Knox Indianapolis Pro Am team take on the Goodman League from Washington D.C., I can safely say something I have not said in a long time: I enjoyed a basketball game featuring NBA players.
Gone was the boring, slow-paced walking around that one sees during an NBA game. Gone too was the dramatic acting done by players trying to draw a foul.
There were no unreasonably long timeouts to allow for advertisements or a break for the players who had not even broken a sweat.
The NBA players in attendance at the University of Indianapolis’ Nicoson Hall last Saturday put on a heck of a show. It did not matter that there was next to no defense played during the game; the two teams were on the hardwood having fun and causing the crowd to erupt with cheering throughout the night.
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall and Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard (and Indianapolis native) Eric Gordon were the stars of the show for their respective teams.
Wall, playing for the Goodman League, put up 41 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, a triple-double, while playing a majority of the game’s 48 minutes.
Gordon nearly matched him, posting 40 points with nine assists while throwing down a few huge slam dunks and draining multiple deep three-point shots.
In all, 12 NBA players took to the court in the game. All of them put up more than 10 points, much unlike a typical NBA game.
Butler alumni Shelvin Mack and Gordon Hayward were even in on the fun. Mack, playing for the Goodman League, scored 15 points, including a tough three-point basket over the outstretched arm of a defender.
For the Indy Pro Am team, Hayward tallied 20 points and ten rebounds. You could see him all over the floor, sprinting to both ends like a kid in a pick-up game.
I wish actual NBA games were this way.
I got to see NBA stars compete in a non-stop contest where they were attempting shots that they could not try during an NBA game, because it would be a waste of a possession.
These guys were not worried about anything. Maybe that explains why Boston Celtics small forward Jeff Green was wearing pink shoes and driving the net like it was nobody’s business. He ended up with 35 points on the night.
Maybe that explains why Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was spinning defenders around like tops and taking shots from everywhere he could. He ended up with 33 points and 15 assists on the night.
Maybe that explains why Gordon was draining three-pointers from ungodly distances. Maybe that even explains why Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson received a technical foul after nonchalantly hurling the ball down the court after drawing a foul.
There was no pressure. It was all about fun and playing the game of basketball.
“We’re looking to do something good during the lockout,” Indy Pro Am CEO and coach Carlos Knox said before the event. “We’re hoping to get together with other Pro Ams and there is definitely more to come.”
Thank you, Mr. Knox. Thank you.