Since the beginning of the lockout, less than a month and a half ago, several NBA stars and rising stars have started to play in pickup and Pro Am games around the nation. There have been some highlights and also some lowlights throughout the summer.
Kevin Durant: The Oklahoma City forward and NBA scoring champ tore apart anyone who stepped in his way at Rucker Park in Harlem last week, a day later Durant tied up the laces again and dropped 41 at Baruch College and then two days dropped 29 in Washington Heights. Kevin Durant has denied to talk to the media but his reps spoke for him "He doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't want any publicity. He just want to ball." If you haven't already seen his 4th quarter performance at Rucker Park then take a look: Kevin Durant
John Lucas III: The 5'11 Chicago Bulls point guard put up 60 points vs Kevin Durant and his team, The Franchise, when they played each other at Baruch College. Durant might have stolen the show with some gravity defying dunks but Lucas shot 22-41 from the field and hit 6 three pointers. Take a look at some of the highlights from the night: Lucas vs Durant
Brandon Jennings: The star point guard for the the Milwaukee Bucks has joined the likes of Durant and Lucas and has started to play in street ball and Pro Am games in his free time. Jennings has pulled off some incredible moves throughout the summer and one included bouncing a ball off of a defenders head. Take a look at some of his moves: Brandon Jennings
Rookies Josh Selby and Alec Burks: Selby, 39th pick in the draft, had 48 points for his team vs Brandon Jennings in a Pro Am game. Take a look at the two throughout the night: Selby vs Jennings. Meanwhile Alec Burks, 12th pick, showed off his skills at an Pro Am game in Indianapolis. Take a look at some high flying highlights from his game: Alec Burks
Kobe Fiasco: The rumors about Kobe headed to Turkey ended up being fake yet were consistently headlined on ESPN and other sports websites and took die hard Lakers fans on a roller coaster. There is a small population of NBA players headed overseas so far and as of right now Kobe is staying in the sates.
Yao Ming: The Rocket's big man finally called it quits over the summer. Most of his reason to retire was nagging injuries but I think the imposing lockout also seemed like a good time for the Chinese legend to called it a quits. More on the All star here: Yao
Matt Barnes: Barnes has been know for his overly aggressive style throughout his career in the NBA and it came out when he was playing in a Pro Am game in San Fran. Barnes dealt with the fan all night then snapped and shoved the heckling fan in the face. Barnes said "He elbowed me and pushed me, so he got one."
Michael Beasley: The Minnesota Timberwolves forward and former 2nd overall pick shoved a fan in the face during a street ball game in New York. Beasley was playing in Washington Heights with Kevin Durant but stopped during free throws and went over to push the fan in the face. Beasley later went over to try and shake hands with the fan but it just got worse. Take a look at the incident: Michael Beasley
This has been a very fun summer for basketball fans who have been able to watch these games. Fans have packed parks, street ball courts and gyms around the country to watch some of these NBA players play and to see them up close. I hope this continues the rest of the summer and into the fall because it doesn't look like the NBA and NBAPA are close to reaching an agreement.