NBA players share their insights into the importance of Pro-am games

Vincent Carchetta – USA TODAY Sports

Pro-am games have become increasingly popular over the past decade, featuring star talent from around the world. These games give players opportunities to play with talents ranging from local hoops to the highest level.

The Danny Rumph Classic is a Pro-am tournament that has been held in Philadelphia since 2006, honoring the legacy of Danny Rumph. Over the years, the tournament has hosted stars such as Jason Tatum and James Harden. This year, a few featured players include the Morris twins (Marcus and Markiv), Lamar Stevens and Alize Johnson, all from Pennsylvania.

“It means a lot, uh, just the unity of the city. Everyone comes together for a great cause. Being able to play in front of these kids means everything to me because I was once a kid in the stands, you know watching the older players play, the guys that motivated me to be be where I am.”

Lamar Stevens

Philadelphia native and Cavaliers forward Lamar Stevens said, when asked what it means for him to be able to give back to the community in this way.

Pro-am games are all about community

These leagues allow youngsters to see some of their idols in person that they might not be so lucky to see at NBA games. Dejounte Murray, a Hawks guard, touched on this after playing in the pro-league Jamal Crawford in Seattle.

A large part of these games is the “streetball” type of intensity. It allows these NBA players to interact with the crowd and talk trash as much as they want. Alice Johnson said that was his favorite part of playing in an atmosphere like this. “You know a lot of guys have been talking trash, and it makes me better, it makes me take out my game. So I think it makes it fun, it’s the nature of Philadelphia basketball.”

Stevens also touched on the topic, saying, “I definitely enjoy being able to talk about trash. It’s something that gets me going, didn’t make me go tonight but it usually happens. It’s just fun, it’s all love man we’re all here trying to chase our dreams and you know, take care With our families. So we can get out here and compete, you know, for fun, for the city, for the right cause.”

Lots of smiles were seen on the faces of the youngsters as the athletes spent time posing for pictures with them after the match. The message Danny Rumph Classic aims to spread is to “rescue the next shining star”. Giving back to the community is really what these professional tournaments are all about. Even for just a few days, people from all over the region come together and enjoy watching some of the best players in the world get close to each other.

Even players who receive a small amount of recognition have a chance to stand out in front of such large crowds. One such player is Justin Jaworski. Jaworsky was called “someone’s boss” by the announcer throughout the entire match against the Morris twins. However, he eventually stole the show in the fourth quarter as he hit five deep balls to trim the 21-point deficit to five. It quickly went from being left open for three people, to being a double team by Marcus Morris himself.

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a professional game in your area, we highly encourage you to do so. They bring communities together and give you a once in a lifetime experience. You never know who will show up, but it’s worth it no matter what.

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