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Gaming

“Jordan Challenges” Returning to ‘NBA 2K23’

The popular sports gaming franchise NBA 2K is going back to its roots by bringing back the popular “Jordan Challenges” from NBA 2K11. It was announced in early July that Michael Jordan would don the cover of the NBA 2K23 legend edition. This is the fourth time the heroic Chicago Bulls shooting guard will grace the cover of a 2K game, with the last being his appearance on NBA2k16. Here is what to expect from the new and improved Jordan Challenge mode in NBA 2K23

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‘NBA 2K11’ Jordan Challenges

The original Jordan challenges in NBA 2K11 were relatively surface level. It would drop you into an iconic game that Jordan played in, and you would be tasked with replicating the stat line he finished with in real life. If Jordan dropped 63 points on the Celtics shooting 50 percent from the field, you’d have to do just that in the challenge. There were only 10 Jordan challenges in this first conception of the game mode, and successfully completing all 10 would unlock a MYCAREER game mode where you can start an NBA career as Michael Jordan. 

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A new aspect being added to this rendition of the Jordan challenges is pre-game interviews with players or coaches who help set the scene for what challenge you’re attempting to beat. The interviews range from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all the way to Phil Jackson. The game’s developers went as far as to get the actual recording from Bulls PA announcer Ray Clay to make the introductions to games feel as real as life. 

There is a clear emphasis that 2K wants to make this game mode feel as if you were transported back to the 90s. As 2K describes on their website: “Enhancing our on-court experience to support the Jordan Challenge was a major priority for the team this year. The Jordan Challenge is not just the same modern-day gameplay with classic teams and uniforms. We scouted, studied, and made key gameplay changes to fit the feel of each era to make each game feel like time traveling through NBA history.”

The new and improved Jordan challenges in 2K23 will provide five new challenges added on from the 10 in the previous game. Each challenge offers three goals for you to accomplish, with a star earned for each goal achieved. There are 40 total stars and the rewards include jerseys for your MYPLAYER and other MYTEAM bonuses. The five new moments added to the Jordan Challenge will include:

1982 National Championship: University of North Carolina vs. Georgetown

1984 Team USA Basketball Scrimmage

1988 NBA All-Star Game

1989 Eastern Conference First Round vs Cavaliers, Game 5

1997 Chicago Bulls vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe vs MJ)

*NBA 2K23 is set to release on September 8th, 2022

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Sports

Documentary On Golden State Warriors’ ‘Run TMC’  Squad On The Way

Sports media companies RTG Features and MSM, known for basketball documentaries such as The Last Dance, have recruited David Charles Rodrigues to direct a new feature documentary on the revolutionary 90’s Warriors. Known as “TMC” for their deadly trio of Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, and Chris Mullins, the Warriors led the NBA in scoring in the 1989-90 season and paved the way for the modern NBA offense. Here is what to expect from the upcoming documentary on this epic trio. 

Nellie Ball
(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

TMCs success in their short three-year span together wouldn’t have been possible without head coach Don Nelson. Currently second all-time on the head coaching wins list, Nelson is a major part of why the NBA is played how it is today. When Don Nelson began coaching in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, there was an emphasis in the NBA to run the ball through a big-man. 


In a stroke of genius, Nelson decided to implore a lineup of smaller players to attack mismatches on the fast break. It may seem trivial now, however, to entertain the idea of small-ball in the 1970’s was borderline insanity. Nelson went on to win three Coach of the Year awards, although he would never win a championship as a coach.

Run TMC
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The leader and longest tenure to the Golden State Warriors during the Run TMC days was hall-of-fame forward Chris Mullins. Mullins is one of the most underrated players in NBA history, winning a gold medal with the 92’ Dream Team en route to an illustrious 16-year-career. Mullins was drafted in 1985, while Mitch Richmond was selected in ’88 and Tim Hardaway was added to the team in 1989. In Hardaway’s rookie year, the Warriors led the NBA in scoring, but missed the playoffs by a couple of games.

Although the Warriors didn’t find playoff success in 1989-90, they did win over their fanbase. In 1990-91, the Warriors would sell out every home game. The trio of TMC would score 20+ points each in 48 games, and lead the Warriors back to the playoffs. They would lose in the second round to the Lakers after upsetting David Robinson and the Spurs in the first round. The Warriors felt they were still a piece short and would trade Richmond early into the next season.

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Sports

Heads Up! The 2022 BIG3 Playoff Preview

After eight weeks of traveling the United States and battling it out in 3v3 basketball games, the playoff picture for Ice Cube’s BIG3 league has been finalized. The BIG3 will begin its playoffs on August 14th, with two semi-final games. The next weekend on August 21st, the championship game will be held and the 2022 BIG3 league champion will emerge. Here is our preview of the semi-final matchups. 

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(1) Team Trilogy vs (4) Team Aliens

The first matchup of this year’s BIG3 playoffs will showcase the first seeded Trilogy against the fourth seeded Aliens. Team Trilogy was expected to be the second seed, but after a big win in the last week and a loss from the three-headed monsters, they claimed the first spot. Trilogy is looking to capture their third BIG3 championship since the league began in 2017, and will be led by captain and former NBA veteran James White. 

There is no guarantee that Trilogy will advance past this first round, as a valiant opponent in The Aliens sits opposite of them. The Aliens are lead by the #1 ranked 3v3 basketball player on the planet, Dusan Bulut. Coming off a loss last week against Power, The Aliens will need a generational performance to advance to the next round.

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(2) Team Three-Headed Monsters vs (3) Team Power

Team Power’s playoff hopes looked dim heading into the last week of the season. They had to win their last matchup of the year which they did, but their fate would be in Team Killer 3’s hands. After Team Killer 3’s lost, Team Power secured their spot in the playoffs. Power won the second ever league championship, but haven’t reached a finals since. 

There is no team in the BIG3 that knows the devastation of losing in the finals more than the Three–Headed Monsters. They lost in the championship game in 2017 and in 2021. If they can secure a first round win and Trilogy also advances, we will get a rematch of the 2021 BIG3 finals. I truly believe that this is the Three-Headed Monsters year. Coming off a finals loss, the motivation for Three-Headed Monsters to close it out is at dangerously high levels.

Categories
Sports

These Are the 5 Best ‘Big3’ Teams Heading Into The Postseason

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Teams like the 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team helped take the sport global.. In recent years, we’ve seen the format of how the game of basketball is showcased evolve. The Olympics now offer a 3v3 basketball event played on a half-court setting. A key reason we saw this form of basketball become so prominent is because of the Ice Cube founded ‘Big3’ league, which takes retired NBA players and has them compete in 3 on 3 games. With only one week remaining in its regular season, here are the five best teams this year in the BIG3.

5.) Team Power: 4-3
Roster – Captain: Cuttino Mobley, Co-Captain: Nikoloz Tskitishvili, Co-Captain: Royce White, Glen Rice, TJ Cline. Head Coach: Nancy Lieberman
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Team Power hasn’t been able to match the success of their early days in the BIG3. They won the second ever league title in 2018, but haven’t made it back to the Finals since. They’re headlined by 11-year NBA veteran Cuttino Mobley. Mobley averaged 16 points and 4 rebounds across his career. If Team Power wants to make it into the postseason, they will have to win their last regular season game against The Aliens. 

4.) Team Aliens: 5-2
Roster – Captain: Dusan Bulut, Co-Captain: Karlis Lasmanis, Co-Captain: Tomislav Ivosev, Deshawn Stephens, Adam Drexler, Head Coach: Rick Mahorn
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images for BIG3)

Surprisingly enough, Team Aliens doesn’t have a single former NBA player. Instead, the top-ranked individual 3v3 athlete in the world, named by the International Basketball Federation, is none other than Aliens captain Dusan Bulut. Bulut, along with other members of Team Alien, took home three gold medals in 3v3 competition for Serbia. They are currently one game back from moving up to first in the standings. 

3.) Team Killer 3’s: 5-2
Roster – Captain: Franklin Session, Co-Captain: Donte Green, Co-Captain: Josh Powell, K.J. McDaniels, Dominique Johnson, Head Coach: Charles Oakley
(Photo by Ethan Mito/Getty Images for BIG3)

The names headlining Team Killer 3’s may not jump out at you, but former Los Angeles Laker Josh Powell comes with championship experience. The NBA veteran was with the Lakers when they won back-to-back NBA championships in 09’ and 10’. Coaching the Killer 3’s is fiery NBA legend Charles Oakley. Oakley played nearly 20 seasons in the NBA and was alongside some of the greatest basketball players of all time. He played next to Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Vince Carter. 

2.) Team Trilogy: 5-2
Roster – Captain: James White, Co-Captain: Earl Clark, Co-Captain: Amir Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe, David Hawkins, Head Coach: Stephen Jackson
(Photo by Ethan Mito/Getty Images for BIG3)

No team has seen as much success in the BIG3 as Team Trilogy has. They have taken home two of the four BIG3 league titles, including last season’s. Team Trilogy is littered with NBA veterans, as every player on the roster has touched an NBA floor at least once. Co-Captain Amir Johnson boasts the best NBA resume, with 14 seasons played and career averages of 7 points and 6 rebounds. They are in a great position to win their third franchise title and bring a new meaning to their team name ‘Trilogy’. 

1.) Team 3 Headed Monsters: 6-1
Roster – Captain: Rashard Lewis, Co-Captain: Jonathon Simmons, Co-Captain: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Quincy Miller, Kevin Murphy, Jamario Moon, Head Coach: Reggie Theus
(Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

There is no roster in the BIG3 that could rival that of Team 3-Headed Monsters, which is led by legendary forward and one-time NBA champion Rashard Lewis and team co-captain Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Abdul-Rauf met heavy criticism in his career when he refused to stand during the national anthem. After being fined, he agreed to stand during the pledge, but would have his head down and eyes closed. There are few who have the courage to stand for what they believe in, and it was even rarer to see in the 90’s. After falling short in the championship last season, the 3-Headed Monsters are hungry to win their first Big3 title. 

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Sports

The Five Ways Bill Russell Changed Basketball Forever

On Sunday afternoon (July 31st), the family of Bill Russell announced his passing at 88 years old. Alongside his reputation as undoubtedly the greatest winner in all American team sports, Russell’s legacy is amplified by his various on and off-the-court accomplishments- the only difference being that they happened during or after his playing days. But their impact? Still immensely powerful.

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There’s a historical fact and context instilled in every conversation about Russell’s 11 NBA championships (the most in league history). To win despite living in more than challenging times was unprecedented– the Civil Rights movement, Jim Crow laws, this country remaining in war– but Russell never shied away from helping the people and doing what he felt was right.

As generations come and go, basketball fans’ relationship with the legendary Boston Celtic has changed. Some fans will never forget Russell as a player, but others only know of him because the NBA Finals MVP award got named in his honor. Or maybe you saw him smiling widely at a game or still taking a stand for a cause in his 80s. But no matter your connection to Russell, there’s one familiar feeling: Respect.

Here are five ways the late Bill Russell greatly impacted basketball.

Russell and the Celtics rewrote the standard for winning in the NBA

When Russell entered the NBA, the league was only 11 years old and had just experienced its first taste of winning by George Mikan and the Minneapolis Lakers (five championships). But that was a prelude compared to what Russell and the Boston Celtics would accomplish.

By winning 11 championships in the following 13 seasons, Russell and the Celtics permanently rewrote what it meant to succeed in the NBA. Until now, no other team has won that many titles in that long of a stretch.

Blocking and rebounding were revolutionized by Russell

While Russell technically isn’t the inventor of rebounding and shot-blocking, he’s gathered much credit for popularizing and effectively doing those acts. Back when the general thought was “a good defender never left their feet,” Russell’s blocks and rebounds often kick-started the Celtics’ high-octane offense.

On the all-time rebounding list, Russell is second with 21,620. And despite his blocks not being recorded because the league didn’t begin tracking that and steals until 1973, Russell reportedly averaged at least six blocks per game.

Russell is one of five NBA players to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom
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As much respect people have for Bill Russell, the player, there’s arguably more for Bill Russell, the man. Even dating back to his playing days, Russell was vocal and active in helping out Black and Brown communities across the United States, protested alongside them, and studied his African heritage during the offseason.

Such efforts remained the lifeline of his existence, culminating in an extremely special moment in 2011 when President Barack Obama rewarded Russell with the Presidential Medal of Freedom– the highest honor any U.S. citizen could receive.

“And I hope that one day, in the streets of Boston, children will look up at a statue built not only to Bill Russell, the player, but Bill Russell, the man,” President Obama said about Russell at the ceremony.

Russell was the first Black man to become a head coach in league history

As previously mentioned, a historical fact and context are always instilled in any Russell-related conversation. While still a few years from retiring, Russell was named the new head coach of the Boston Celtics in 1966 after the legendary Red Auerbach retired before the following season.

Russell not only thrived in his new role— he won two titles as a player/coach– but he was the first Black head coach in league history.

New generations of hoopers were embraced by Russell
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Among all his fellow legends, Bill Russell ranks high in terms of avidly supporting the NBA’s upcoming talents. It became common to watch him give the Finals MVP award, named in his honor, to the winning recipient and show support to the league’s biggest stars by exchanging hugs and thoughtful advice.

When it came to “paying it forward,” fewer did it better than him, and we should be inspired to follow in Russell’s footsteps.

Categories
Sports

When Did the WNBA Start?

The WNBA has been a professional sports league in the United States for over 25 seasons. The league is currently built out with 12 different teams and over 140 of the best female basketball players in the world. It was no small feat to get a professional women’s basketball league established, but because of the exceptional play of the 1995-96 U.S. national team, we have the league today. So when did the WNBA start?

1992-1994 USA Women’s Basketball
(Photo credit should read CHRIS WILKINS/AFP via Getty Images)

Before the WNBA, the biggest stage for a female professional basketball player was the Olympics and other international competitions. In 1988, the Men’s national team failed to make the gold-medal game, and finished with a bronze medal. The international format of basketball would be forever changed as NBA players would now be allowed to play in the Olympics. The following Olympics, which took place in 1992, were dominated by the Michael Jordan-led Dream Team. While the Men’s game was reaching new heights, the women’s national team was facing its biggest challenge yet. 

As the 1992 Mens ‘Dream Team’ would go on to claim gold, the women’s national team would only claim a bronze medal. This was a huge blow for a program that had just won the previous two gold medals. Things would go from bad to worse when the women’s national team would place bronze again at the FIBA World Cup in 1994. 

There was too much talent for these teams to not be finishing with gold, so something needed to change. The NBA and USA Basketball would sponsor a national-team program that would see their squad play 52 games in preparation for the 1996 Olympics. What that team would do was nothing short of incredible.

1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team
(Photo by Manny Millan /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Leading the 1996 Women’s ‘Dream Team’ was Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer. VanDerveer’s track record as a coach in women’s basketball was as good, if not better than anyone. The roster would be built out with the eleven best Olympic prospects and they would embark on a 10-month journey to prepare for the 1996 Olympics. 

Winning a gold medal wasn’t the only objective this squad had. They were a testing ground for the NBA to see what the popularity for Women’s basketball could be. Not only did these athletes have the pressure of winning gold on their shoulders, they also had to show how deserving they were of their own professional league. 

To call the run the USA women’s senior national team had in 1995-96 “dominant” would be an understatement. They first started with a three-month tour facing off against the best collegiate squads in the country. They went undefeated, winning those games by an average margin of 45.2 points. The elite squad’s undefeated streak continued overseas. 

After a tournament in China that saw them play eight games in eight days, while traveling to three different cities, the team remained undefeated. They would end their pre-Olympic tour in North America, winning the last six games on their schedule. The final record for this team? 52-0. They would go on to win gold handedly at the 1996 Olympics, and the NBA was itching to start its sister league.

WNBA’s Creation
(Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images)

The WNBA was announced on April 24, 1996. Teammates on the 1996 squad, Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie, and Sheryl Swoopes, were all in attendance. The league would start with eight teams in Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, and Utah. 


The league officially kicked off on June 21, 1997, with a match up between the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks. Now, the league has been going strong for over 25 years and has elevated women’s basketball to new heights. As the league continues to grow, we can never forget the work that 1996 USA women’s team put in.

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Sports

2022 NBA Free Agents Still Available

NBA free agency is without question the craziest free agency of all major sports leagues. What is normally a league of basketball professionals becomes the wild, wild west of player movement, sign-and-trades, and tampering. Nearly a full month into this summer’s free agency, we take a look the 10 best available NBA free agents.

10.) DeMarcus Cousins: Center – Denver Nuggets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Boogie Cousins was on the trajectory to superstardom before injuries sidelined him in 2017. Cousins has bounced around from 5 different franchises since his initial injury with the New Orleans Pelicans. He still offers a lot in year 12, knocking down over 30% of his attempts from beyond the arc and pulling in nearly 6 rebounds per game. There is definitely a few teams that could use depth at the center position which Cousins could fill. There has been no news of teams with strong interest to sign Cousins yet, so it may be late into free agency once he is finally signed.

9.) Lou Williams: Guard – Atlanta Hawks – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.3 points, 1.9 assists, 1.6 rebounds
(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, remains unsigned after a month of free agency. Williams has made a living off his ability to score off the bench and has distanced himself as one of the greatest 6th men of all-time. He has seen a drop off in production as the Atlanta Hawks have significantly reshaped their roster and Trae Young has been given a bigger role at the guard position. Williams doesn’t plan to retire and will explore free agency this summer.

8.) Jeremy Lamb: Guard/Forward – Sacramento Kings – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists
(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jeremy Lamb was on the rise with the Charlotte Hornets, posting a career high season average of 15.3 points. After signing with the Pacers, Lamb saw his production slowly drop off. He just finished the last year of his contract with the Kings and has entered unrestricted free agency. Lamb has proven he can be a viable option in the NBA over his 10 year career. You can never have too much depth at the wing position, so expect Lamb to be signed in the near future.

7.) LaMarcus Aldridge: Forward/Center – Brooklyn Nets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 block
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Even though LaMarcus Aldridge is 37 years old, he remains one of the most intriguing free agents on this list. Aldridge announced an early retirement in 2021 due to an irregular heartbeat. He was able to recover and be cleared to play, and was a great addition to the Brooklyn Nets last season.

Aldridge not only offers veteran experience on the court, he is an integral part of any locker room. Don’t be surprised to see LA on a championship contending team next season.

6.) Carmelo Anthony: Forward – Los Angeles Lakers – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

19-year NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony has built out quite the resume during his time in the league. He currently sits 9th all-time in points scored, and if he can score 307 points next season will pass Shaquille O’Neal for 8th. Melo has carved out a role as a capable scorer coming off of the bench, but his time on contending teams may be over.

Anthony could fit great in a mentor role on a young up-and-coming team, but he may hold out and try to sign with a team in the best position to win.

5.) Dwight Howard: Center – Los Angeles Lakers – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 61.2% from the field
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard’s future in the NBA was looking rather murky just a few years ago. After bouncing between six different teams in a nine-year span and only playing nine games in 2018-19, there weren’t many teams enamored with signing Howard. He was able to change that narrative with a great campaign off the bench in 2019-2020 with the Lakers. He even won a championship.

Howard brings a solid interior defender and championship experience to any team he signs with, so expect him to get signed in the near future.

4.) Blake Griffin: Forward – Brooklyn Nets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.4 points, 4.1 rebound, 1.9 assists
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The ‘Lob City‘ Clippers were looking poised to be the next NBA dynasty in 2013 with budding superstar Blake Griffin. Friction with teammates and injuries would sour those expectations, and the Clippers would eventually blow the team up.

After reclaiming his spot as an all-star in 2019, Griffin has found a comfortable role coming off the bench. There is still some stuff left in the tank for Blake Griffin and I hope to see him on a contender next season.

3.) Dennis Schroder: Guard – Houston Rockets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists
(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dennis Schroder mystified the world when he passed on a $84 million contract with the Lakers to sign a $6 million deal with the Celtics. Schroder bet on himself, which unfortunately hasn’t panned out to this point.

He remains one of the best scorers on this list, however. The veteran guard rounded out last season with the Houston Rockets. Let’s see if he tries and find a spot on a contending team.

2.) Montrezl Harrell: Center – Charlotte Hornets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Montrezl Harrell will have to larger issues to work out this summer than his contract. However, he still remains one of the more touted free agents left this summer. The former 6th Man of the Year has one of the best motors in the NBA and can still be a spark for any team in the league. Harrell could be the missing piece needed to take a franchise to the next level.

1.) Collin Sexton: Guard – Cleveland Cavaliers – Restricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 16.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Colin Sexton was on a superstar trajectory after averaging nearly 25 points in 2021 for the Cav’s. Cleveland went in a different direction this year, however, giving Darius Garland the green light to run the offense.

Sexton still remains an extremely interesting free agent, as he’s only 23-years-old and has a career points average of 20. Rebuilding teams could find a gem in Sexton if he can improve on the defense end.

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Sports

Where Can You Find The Best Summer Pro-Am Leagues?

As a hoops fan, the dread of no college and NBA action can be a lot until you remember the game is currently getting played in its purest form. Across the country, fans are returning to old-school gyms and playgrounds to watch an assortment of players compete in Pro-Am leagues in gritter but more dynamic environments. And amongst those hosting competitions, a select group stands out above the rest.

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Whether discussing Dyckman Basketball or the Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League, leagues of their caliber possess a “who’s who” of competing players and a memorable attending experience. The latter is why some fans don’t overly care about attending college or NBA games. Why do so when you can walk down your street and watch high-level talent up close for free?

With summer basketball approaching its halfway point, here is our list of the eight-best Pro-Am leagues.

Drew League, Los Angeles, CA
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While the Drew is in the news because of LeBron’s incredible performance last weekend, the almost 50-year-old league has been a staple of nationwide summer hoops and proving ground for several upcoming and established hoopers– especially those from LA.

Dyckman Basketball, Uptown New York City
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New York City is most undoubtedly known for its hoops history within the parks, and no one is currently hotter than Dyckman Basketball. From all over the world, people are making their way to Uptown to watch the game get played in its grittiest, intimate, yet entertaining way possible.

The Crawsover, Seattle, WA
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Once known as the Seattle Pro-Am and run by former NBA player Doug Christie, “The Crawsover” has been entertaining and consistent like its namesake— Jamal Crawford. During its 14-year-tenure under Crawford’s watch, this league has witnessed Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, amongst other NBA stars, suit up in its uniforms.

Danny Rumph Classic, Philadelphia, PA
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Despite all of the noises made within East Coast hoops because of New York City, summer hoop lovers are fans of the Danny Rumph Classic. This Philly staple proudly represents their city’s basketball movement and attracts star talent– most notably James Harden, Lou Williams, and Dion Waiters.

Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League, Atlanta, GA
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Having kicked off their 10th season, the AEBL quickly made a name for themselves as a highly entertaining yet challenging league. On any given night, you’re watching the past, present, and future of Georgia hoopers compete, and you’ll never know when a star will join the party.

Miami Pro League, Miami, FL
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Besides the lovely weather, beaches, and no-state income tax, plenty of college and NBA players are stopping by Florida to play in the Miami Pro League. In recent years, James Harden, John Wall, and Ja Morant have made appearances here and left an assortment of highlights that we still enjoy.

Brunson League, The State of Maryland
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The DMV, short for Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, has been a hotbed for talent for a long time, with a portion of them coming from Maryland. The Brunson League became the state’s premier Pro-Am after Barry Farms, and the Goodman League held it down for quite some time.

Dreamville Chi-League Presented By Wilson, Chicago, IL
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Before Dreamville and Wilson Basketball successfully relaunched the Chicago-based Pro-AM league last summer, the Chi League was one of the best leagues across the country. Once a true battleground for the city’s most immense talents, Chicago fans are now watching the next generation of hoopers take center stage, notably All-Star point guard Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Sports

LeBron James Returns To The Drew League and Dominates

For the first time in 11 years, LeBron James stepped on the floor of the Drew League and entertained a sold-out gym in Los Angeles, CA, on Saturday. Having last played in LA’s famous Pro-Am league during the summer of 2011, watching the four-time NBA MVP and champion play during this time of the year was a rare sight. But all it took was an invite from Chicago Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan to change that.

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DeRozan is beyond a regular in the Drew League; he’s essentially a staple, a walking tradition you expect but appreciate whenever you watch him in that environment. And by having his own team, the MMV Cheaters, the proud Compton, CA native is free to create competitive advantages and unforgettable moments like the one on Saturday.

The Drew League faithful was more than welcoming to James as he walked on the court to a loud ovation. Rocking his signature No. 6 and a pink colorway of his upcoming LeBron 20, the NBA’s second-highest all-time scorer was locked in from the start as he eventually dropped 42 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 104-102 victory.

Whether before or during James’s performance, fans’ reactions to what occurred didn’t disappoint.

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And it was easy to spot the look of amazement (or fear) players had guarding LeBron
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Which players would you love to see play at Drew League, Dyckman Park, and other famous Pro-Am leagues across the country?

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Sports

The 10 Most Unexpected NBA Trades Ever

Even though a typical NBA season, including the playoffs, runs between October and June, the National Basketball Association is a year-round league. In the off-season, teams trade off unhappy or underperforming players in hopes of revitalizing their chances at a title. This is the time where NBA fans are steadily on the lookout for rumors regarding potential trades.

Every season, players are swapped between franchises. With the addition of a new player or two, some teams are immediately thrusted into title contention. On the other hand, some trades don’t make as much sense and a team ends up paying a steep price for the moves they’ve made.

While some trades can be predicted, every now and then, a trade or two comes along that completely blindsides everyone who is paying attention. Here are the 10 most unexpected NBA trades of all-time.

10. Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat
July 14, 2004. Heat get: Shaquille O’Neal. Lakers get: Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a future first-round pick.
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The last team to three-peat as NBA champions is the early 2000 Lakers. Back then, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were unstoppable as teammates, winning three championships in a row from 2000 to 2002. They returned to the Finals in 2004, but lost to the Detriot Pistons. The unexpected lost, as well Laker coach Phil Jackson not receiving a contract extension would ultimately blow up the team. It was shocking to see the Lakers ship out Shaq after a couple of unsuccessful post-season runs.

9. Dennis Rodman to the Chicago Bulls
Oct. 3, 1995. ​​Bulls get: Dennis Rodman. Spurs get: Will Perdue.
(Photo by Noren Trotman/NBAE via Getty Images)

For years, the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls were stuck in purgatory, often falling to the Isiah Thomas’ Detroit Pistons. Once they finally dethroned the Pistons in 1991, the Bulls era had officially begun. With so much bad blood between the Bulls and Pistons, fans were caught off guard when Chicago traded for former Pistons forward Dennis Rodman. It all worked out however, with Rodman helping team Jordan win 3 more championships.

8. Allen Iverson and Chauncy Billups Swap
Nov 3rd, 2008. Pistons get: Allen Iverson. Nuggets get: Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess.
(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2004 Pistons were truly an anomaly, winning the NBA championship without a real superstar. They never reached the same success in following years, and ultimately went all-in on Allen Iverson in 2008. It was mystifying to see the Pistons trade the guy who was their finals MVP for someone known for having off-court issues.

7. Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers
Aug 10, 2012. Lakers get: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon. Denver Nuggets get: Andre Iguodala. 76ers get: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson. Magic get: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Harkless, Josh McRoberts, and three future 1st round picks.
(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

After the Lakers won back-to-back finals in 2009-2010, there wasn’t a clear sign on where to go next. Do they blow up the whole team and look towards the future? Do they trade for a premier young player and dip into the luxury tax to build another contender? They’re the Lakers, it’s no mystery they went with the latter. It was still shocking to the NBA world to see Dwight Howard paired up with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Due to all three players dealing with nagging injuries, we never saw the true potential of this super-team.

6. Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks
Feb 21, 2011. Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncy Billups, Corey Brewer, Renaldo Balkman, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter. Nuggets get: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks, $3 million cash. Timberwolves get: Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In 2010, it became clear that Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver. There were a number of contenders in the Melo sweepstakes, but in the end, New York Knicks came out victorious. The Knicks sent what was at the time one of the biggest hauls we’d ever seen for a single player. Anthony would play over 400 games for the Knicks and they would win one playoff series.

5. Paul George Teams Up With Kawhi
Jul 6, 2019. Clippers get: Paul George. Thunder get: Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, five 1st round draft picks.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard shocked the world in 2019 after bringing the Toronto Raptors their first ever NBA championship. Months later, the Finals MVP shocked the world again when he decided to dip out on the Raptors and join the LA Clippers. Around the same time, Paul George who had just finished 3rd in MVP voting was sent to the Clippers for several picks and players. Steve Ballmer has been hell-bent on creating the new basketball mecca, and these two superstars may be the last pieces.

4. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn
Jun 28, 2013 Nets get: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry. Celtics get: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, three 1st round picks.
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Once LeBron James took his spot at mountain top of the NBA, the Celtics knew they could not compete with their currently constructed roster. It still shocked the NBA world to see two of the Celtic’s most historic players be shipped off to a division rival in Brooklyn. The Celtics got an incredible selection of picks that set them up for years, maybe even decades of success.

3. Wilt Chamberlain to The Los Angeles Lakers
Jul 9, 1968. Lakers get: Wilt Chamberlain. 76ers get: Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, undisclosed amount of cash.
(Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the late 1960’s, NBA superstars weren’t traded around the league the same way they are today. That’s when Jerry West convinced the Lakers to trade for aging superstar Wilt Chamberlain. The Lakers were able to pull off the trade and bring a championship to Los Angeles with Wilt in 1972.

2. Bill Russell to Boston
Apr 30, 1956. Celtics get: Bill Russell. Hawks get: Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. Royals get: 1 week of the Ice Capades
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

What many NBA fans don’t know is that the Celtics actually traded up to draft Bill Russell. The St.Louis Hawks held the 2nd pick in 1956, a time when Missouri was going through the beginning stages of desegregation. They had no interest in drafting Bill Russell, so, the Celtics traded virtually nothing to move into the 2nd spot. They also promised the Kansas City Royals, holder of the first pick, a week with the traveling ice show the Ice Capades if they didn’t draft Russell.

1. The Beard goes to Houston
Oct 27, 2013. Rockets get: James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward. Thunder get: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two 1st round picks, second round pick.
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2012 NBA Finals saw LeBron James claim his first NBA title by defeating an up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder had the defending 6th Man of the Year and budding superstar James Harden slated to be a restricted free-agent after the next season. Instead of letting Harden play out that year or give him the max contract, they traded him to Houston for a small return. Harden would go on to become league MVP and break a multitude of scoring records. Thunder fans are left to ponder, what if they ran it back?