It's safe to say that the NBA finals will feature the matchup that most fans wanted to see — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant against Miami Heat forward LeBron James.
The last time D.C. native Kevin Durant played in his hometown, he was dazzling a crowd of summer-league groupies in high school and college gyms and praying for an end to the NBA lockout.
John Wall didn't arrive until the end of the first quarter. The well-traveled Washington Wizards point guard was at Kentucky for Friday night's Midnight Madness, then hopped a plane Saturday afternoon to play in the Goodman League vs. Philly League game at Coolidge High School on Saturday night.
He was the first player to arrive at the Coolidge High School gym Saturday afternoon, wearing a navy T-shirt, jeans and a baseball cap. Barely 6-foot and a slim 172 pounds, Kemba Walker simply blended into the crowd until it was time to suit up for the game, which started an hour late.
NBA labor talks remain at a standstill after meetings last week yielded no movement by either side. Both players and owners say they are committed to their positions, putting the start of the season - if not the entire season - in jeopardy.
Perhaps these games are becoming commonplace now. Or perhaps, with just one week to get the word out, not enough people knew about the game. But whatever the cause, a surprisingly sparse crowd of about 200 showed up at Coolidge High School to see the "Clash of the Superstars," the latest in a series of summer-league games starring locked-out NBA players.
The game started almost 45 minutes late, but the fans didn't mind. They were waiting for Kevin Durant. The assembled roster was worthy of an NBA All-Star game, but in this city, Durant is the player that moves the needle.
There were no playoff shares involved, no rings, no trophies. Just bragging rights for a few locked-out NBA players and the street-ball stars who suit up with them every summer.
There were no playoff shares involved, no rings, no trophies. Just bragging rights for a few locked-out NBA players, and the street-ball stars who suit up with them every summer.
The stakes may not include the Larry O'Brien Trophy, but the upcoming East vs. West matchup for summer league bragging rights is the next best thing for local ballers, and a few NBA stars.
Far removed from the opulence of an NBA arena's luxury boxes and $1,000 courtside seats, a green asphalt court is flanked by hard metal bleachers and a chain-link fence.
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.