Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cool Pick Up Games

Every year during the All Star weekend, the international television media gets together and plays a pick up game which helps in getting to know each other a little more.  Most speak english so it's nice to get to talk to friends from Russia, France, China, Germany and other parts of the world.  A lot of them are also pretty good at basketball themselves as some were former national team players for their countries.

Our sessions are usually attended by former NBA players to facilitate the session who help us in some stretching exercises and some drills before we actually go out and play.  They also end up playing with us in our friendly pick up games.

My first year at the All Stars, it was Spud Webb who joined us.  He was known as the 5'7" guy who beat Dominique Wilkins in the slam dunk contest.  Even Boris Diaw of the Suns played with us as he was part of the media from France.  Last year was a treat as a Bulls fan.  BJ Armstrong, an allstar himself and part of Chicago's championship teams joined us.  He now works for a company who represents players all over the world.

This year, Tim Hardaway was tasked to be part of the media pick up game.  He was very gracious and joined in some of the games.  He didn't really show us his "killer crossover" which was his signature move but he did prove that he can shoot from downtown with a few long range jumpers.  

Tim still lives in Miami and works a lot with kids in the area helping them with doing something about their situation and making something of themselves.  He's had a hard time in connecting with the Heat, the NBA team in the city since he did make some derogatory comments last year about his views on gay people.  He claims that a lot of the people in the Miami Heat organization were gay and were offended by his statements and he has felt a lot of backlash from it.  He even went to therapy sessions as an offshoot of his public statements.

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