Smush Parker after his game winner against Uptowners. Photo: Kyle Henry
Last night at Nike Pro City (68th and Lexington) I watched probably the best game of basketball I’ve ever seen. It had everything, star power, an intense atmosphere, a game tight MC and it ended with a buzzer-beater. Smush Parker hit a deep 26-footer as time ran out to list his Gold’s Gym squad to a 115-112 victory over Adris “Too Hard To Guard” DeLeon’s Uptowners team.
Gold’s controlled the first half, dumping the ball in the post to John “The Franchise” Strickland for easy points. The Uptowners had no answer for The Franchise and fell behind 67-54 at the half.
Too Hard To Guard and his crew came out fired up to begin the second half. Nafi aka Borat aka Sylvester Stallone of the Afghanistan national team arrived midway through the third and gave the Uptowners a lift. On a Gold’s Gym fast break he hustled back and almost punched a Smush Parker shot attempt through the backboard. The crowd appreciated Nafi’s play and gave him a standing ovation after he exited the game with a dislocated finger from the blocked shot.
The Uptowners made another run late in the fourth quarter, led by JR Inman’s nine points in six minutes, to tie the game at 112-112 with 36 seconds left. After a few possessions by both squads, Gold’s Gym in-bounded the ball from the left sideline with 1.1 seconds left on the clock to Smush Parker. Parker threw a quick ball fake to get rid of his defender then let it go. The shot swished through the net as the buzzer sounded and the crowd went bananas, while the Uptowners players looked on in disbelief; the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Parker knew immediately the shot was good as he backed up and raised his hands.
The Uptowners were led by Too Hard To Guard who finished with a game-high 36 points and Inman who scored 21 points in a losing effort. Parker led Gold’s Gym with 25 points, The Franchise added 20 points and eight rebounds and New Orleans Hornets guard Mike James chipped in with 16. One side note that I found funny: Memphis Grizzlies guard Marko Jaric suited up for Gold’s Gym. I over heard a fan say, “Hey isn’t that the fine Brazilian model’s boyfriend, Adriana Lima. What’s his name again?” Not a good look when you’re a pro ball player and the best description someone can come up with for you is, “That fine Brazilian model’s boyfriend.” However, with Lima on his arm I doubt he cares.
Former New York Knick Allan Houston. Photo: Kyle Henry
In game two Ron Artest went off yet again, dropping 44 points to go with ten rebounds, six assists and three blocks, to knock off Dyckman 131-115. Dyckman suited up former Knick shooting guard and Olympic gold medalist Allan Houston. Houston was introduced to Pro City by a heckler who yelled, “Allan I’m a big fan, but if you don’t represent I’ma get on you.”
Houston did his best to keep Dyckman in the contest, but Artest would have none of it. The Sacramento King hit seven threes and threw done a sick tomahawk flush to dispatch of Dyckman. Houston showed glimpses of his old self when he scored five quick points on Artest with a three-pointer in his grill and a blow by for a lay up. Showtime added 22 points for QB and Jarrid Frye added 16 points and nine rebounds. Houston led Dyckman with 25 points and former Kennedy HS star JC Mathis added 22 for the losers.
Next week there will be some huge games at Pro City as teams lobby for playoff positions. Play resumes Tuesday July 29th when QB take on X-Men in the 6:30 game and Gold’s Gym battle N.I.K.E. 1 in the 8:30 night cap.
Too Hard To Guard at Nike Pro City. Photo: Kyle Henry
Nafi icing his dislocated finger. Photo: Kyle Henry