When the NBA left all of us out in the cold, dead winter during the 2011 lockout, summer pro-ams were there to pick us up with Kobe Bryant game-winners and Kevin Durant doing his thing. The best news of all is that even when the league resumed, the pro-ams remained. They were there long before, and they're not going away.
It's an ongoing version of Pros vs. Joes, except it won't be getting cancelled any time soon.
In fact, pro-ams featuring NBA players are a real thing. The proliferation of social media and the 24-hour news cycle combined to create a beautiful storm of Kevin Durant 60-point games and Nick Young(ness?). Now, it's part of the NBA culture and makes the game last longer throughout the otherwise dreary summer months without hoops.
Brandon Jennings, Dorell Wright, James Harden and Young are regulars here. In addition to being a hotbed for basketball, this Los Angeles institution routinely attracts L.A. natives to come and dazzle fans with their incredible gifts throughout the offseason.
Want to find out who's coming out to play next? Follow the Drew's official Twitter account or Facebook Page in order to get the scoop. You'll have to wait until next season though, because the league just had its championship game, where a certain slithering assassin just happened to make a cameo:
Durant gets around to several different leagues over the summer, but he would consider Washington, D.C.'s Goodman league home. All summer long, games are played six days a week at the Barry Farms Dwellings courts.
The Oklahoma City Thunder superstar goes off in these games, enough that there's plenty of solid footage of him annihilating the opposition:
Most recently, Durant and rookie Victor Oladipo, both D.C. natives, went toe-to-toe in the Goodman League Roundball Classic.
CSN Washington was there to feature all the highlights and weighed in on the action:
Even with several future professional peers also on the court and John Wall observing from the sideline, it was Oladipo in the game's spotlight matchup versus the Oklahoma City Thunder star. Durant is the face of D.C. area basketball, not to mention part of an incredibly short list of those considered the best in the NBA.
The local products faced each other throughout, landing basketball-type haymakers via long distance shots, highlight dunks and tight defense until the final buzzer, which came without an actual winner declared. The game ended in a 116-116 tie.
Nike Pro City Run
If high-level pro-am basketball is involved, then New York City is going to have a say in the matter. The Nike Pro City Run lasts from June until August and features talent at every level from high school to the NBA.
The league that bears the name of superstar Carmelo Anthony is based in his native Baltimore. In 2011, it was extremely active, and no game had more fanfare than the Aug. 30 matchup against the Goodman League that featured superstars LeBron James, Anthony, Chris Paul, Gary Neal and Donte Green playing for Melo League and Durant, John Wall, Jennings, DeMarcus Cousins and streetballer Hugh "Baby Shaq" Jones suiting up for the Goodman squad.
San Francisco Pro Am
For a summer helping of Linsanity, look no further than the Bay Area, where Jeremy Lin has been doing work as recently as this summer near his hometown.
He dropped 45 points against players who likely don't come close to NBA-level talent, but the array of highlights on display from Lin (and many others) in a video from SLAM are still impressive:
Seattle's finest make their way to the Pacific Northwest to compete against high-level competition. In fact, doing just that is in the league's mission statement. Crawford headlines the action and routinely puts on a scoring clinic.
The EBC was established in 1982 and has featured some of the most prominent names in NBA history. Michael Jordan, Bryant, Durant and James are just a few of the names to grace the courts with their presence.