Everyone loves when the Samsung NBA Summer League comes to town. It is an opportunity for fans to get up close and personal with the game and players who will shine throughout the upcoming professional basketball season. In the words of a huge NBA Fan Shon Darby shares his NBA experience in his own words. My third year of the Samsung NBA Sumer League was just as exciting as my first year. After getting to meet different people involved within the NBA such as referee’s Mike Callahan, James Capers Joe Crawford, Bob Delaney, David Guthrie, Bill Kennedy, Ben Taylor who is the NBA’s youngest referee at 34 and Director of Officials Don Vaden. Another highlight of this years summer league was meeting former Piston bad boy Isiah Thomas, Washington Wizards guard John Wall, Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers center Meyers Leonard, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverly, Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas, Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Chicago Bulls forward Doug Mcdermott, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine, Golden State Warriors forward James Michael McAdoo, Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton, San Antonio Spurs Forward Kyle Anderson, Boston Celtics guard James Young, Houston Rockets center Clint Capela, Dallas Mavericks Forward Dwight Powell, Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris, Portland Trailblazers guard Allen Crabbe, And Houston Rockets guard Nick Johnson who later this month was traded to the Denver Nuggets in exchange For guard Ty Lawson.
Among the draft picks this year were Jhalil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jerian Grant of the New York Knicks, Justin Anderson of the Dallas Mavericks, RJ Hunter of the Boston Celtics, Sam Dekker of the Houston Rockets, Bobby Portis of the Chicago Bulls, D’angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, Willie Cauley-Stein of the Sacremento Kings, Kelly Oubre Jr of the Washington Wizards, J.P. Tokoto of the Philadelphia 76ers, Larry Nance Jr of the Los Angeles Lakers And Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns who helped lead the Suns to the championship game against the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs led; by Spurs Assistant coach Becky Hammon who is not only the first female to coach an NBA Summer League Team but also she is the first ever female Assistant coach in NBA history. This year summer league stellar coaches include Cleveland Cavaliers head coach David Blatt, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek, Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey and Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman.
A host of rookies and free agents battled for roster spots that include Glen Rice Jr (Houston Rockets), Quinn Cook (Cleveland Cavaliers), Casey Prather (D-League All Stars), Satnam Singh (Dallas Mavericks), Diante Garrett (Chicago Bulls), Terran Petteway (Atlanta Hawks), CJ Fair (Boston Celtics), Vander Blue (Chicago Bulls), Jamaal Franklin (Denver Nuggets), Aaron Craft (Golden State Warriors), Sean Kilpatrick (Milwaukee Bucks), Brady Heslip (Minnesota Timberwolves), Bryce Dejean Jones (New Orleans Pelicans), Travis Wear (New York Knicks), Vince Hunter (Philadelphia 76ers), Mike James (Phoenix Suns), Arnett Moultrie (Portland Trailblazers), Sim Bhullar (Sacramento Kings), Will Cherry (San Antonio Spurs), Lucas Nogueira (Toronto Raptors), Traevon Jackson (Washington Wizards), Juwan Howard Jr (Miami Heat) whose dad is Michigan Fab Five big man Juwan Howard Sr and an Assistant coach for the Heat along with Cliff Alexander (Brooklyn Nets), Brandon Ashley (Atlanta Hawks) and Seth Curry (New Orleans Pelicans) who all signed with different teams respectively.
Last and not least two women whose natural beauty and personalities cant even be put into words NBA TV correspondent Kristen Ledlow and NBA TV production employee Kelsie Hawkins. Although I had such a great time meeting all those wonderful people what I will remember most is how I gained a true friend in Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart who is portrayed by the media as a bad guy, but I have to disagree. As I was sitting courtside watching the Celtics Summer League team play Marcus dove for a loose ball out of bounds and in the process of that he dove right on top of me. After he got up he paused from playing to see if I was okay, gave me a high five and continued playing. After the game he checked on me again to see how I was doing, even taking a selfie with me and talking to me for about 30 to 40 minutes. That to me isn’t a man who is portrayed as being a villain; that to me is a changed individual and a good friend in my eyes. As the NBA Sumer League continued I was interviewed three times and mentioned in the Boston Globe for Marcus running into me. I told the reporters I wasn’t hurt or in pain and that he is someone I seriously considered my friend because I appreciated how he made sure that I was alright and that moment I will have to cherish forever.