During a normal NBA offseason, young NBA players like Sacramento Kings forward Donte Greene could be found in Las Vegas in July, playing in the NBA summer league.
This summer, with the NBA in lockout mode and summer league games cancelled, Greene decided to spend his summer at home. The 23-year-old Baltimore native is one of the NBA regulars in the Goodman League, which plays indoors at Spingarn High School (in D.C.) on weekends, and outside at Barry Farms during the week.
Saturday afternoon, Greene suited up for Lincoln Park, as they took on the undefeated Running Rebels. Greene scored 24 points and, along with leading scorer and Goodman League veteran Ojo Dele, who had 32, handed the Rebels their first loss of the season, 128-123.
"We have a good league and good competition," said Greene, who met league commissioner Miles Rawls when he was still in high school. "A lot of pros, a lot of overseas guys come back home and play. It's a good way to stay in shape and try to have fun at the same time."
A first-round draft pick of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008, Greene was traded to the Houston Rockets, and then to Sacramento. He plans to a be a regular in the Goodman League this summer.
"This is definitely one of the top Pro-Am leagues in the nation," Green said. "We have a lot of guys from D.C., a lot of guys from Baltimore, Virginia. Guys come from all over to play in this league, and we have a lot of pros here.
"We have Brandon Jennings here, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins; a lot of guys come back and try to have fun and stay in shape and play against some good competition."
In addition to playing basketball, Greene's summer plans include a family vacation to Disney World, something he prepared and saved for in anticipation of the lockout.
"I'm not too happy [about the lockout]", Greene said. "But at the same time, I understand that it's a business, so if I have to take my craft overseas, I'm definitely going to look into that," Greene said.
New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams has signed a contract with Besiktas, a team in Turkey. Several other NBA players, including Jennings, have expressed an interest in playing overseas of the lockout should continue past the start of the regular NBA season.
"Right now, we're hearing December, January, maybe even longer [before the season begins]," Greene said. "For guys, being at home will be hard; they will be itching to get back out there and play. I'm young, so I'm definitely going to check into it."
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