Pro-Am games are going crazy this summer.
The latest beneficiary is Jamal Crawford, who runs the slyly named CrawsOver Pro-Am in his native Seattle, Washington. Not only does it give kids and fans a chance to see star-studded basketball games, but viewing is often cheaper than NBA tickets.
The two were on the same team, and Tatum immediately started cooking with a series of threes early on, and James proved that he’s still got hops with a monster dunk to finish out the first quarter.
The game was more significant because Seatle no longer has an NBA team, a sad fact since the Supersonics became the Thunder and moved to Oklahoma to start the 2008 season. That means it was LeBron James’ first game in front of a Seattle crowd in over 15 years, his last coming during his first stint as a Cleveland Cavalier in January 2007.
But the enjoyment was short-lived as the packed gym and a humid day in the pacific northwest created constant wet spots on the court. Despite efforts to dry the hardwood, it was a clear danger to the players, so the game was called off with about 5 minutes left in the second quarter.
“You don’t get a day like this often, but it’s my job to protect everybody’s safety,” Crawford explained to ESPN. “On the court, I couldn’t risk those guys taking a chance of getting hurt. It’s not worth that. It’s supposed to drive inspiration and give hope, and they did that. The job was accomplished.”
The game also allowed newly-drafted players to hoop with some greats, like 2022 picks Chet Holmgren and MarJon Beauchamp, the latter of which slipped on the court while driving to the rim.
“Every time they dried it, it wasn’t getting any better,” said Beauchamp, who was still happy to experience the rare moment. “The experience was [once in] a lifetime. You’ll probably never see that again. It was cool to be out there in Seattle, all these great players. Dreamed of this.”
Due to the hyped event and limited seating and security, the event wasn’t the experience many fans were expecting. However, Crawford took to the mic after the game to recognize that the organizers tried to create an unforgettable moment for the youth.
“Obviously, everybody didn’t get in, and everybody probably could never get in,” he said afterward. “We tried to do the best we can. We tried to provide an experience that we’ve never had before. I thought that overall it was great because I think it’s moments and memories that the kids will never forget.”
Twitter was hyped at the idea of the game, but expectations soon went downhill as the humidity escalated. Check out some of the best reactions below.