Currently Reading: Seattle’s Basketball Staycation

Around the Puget Sound NBA stars can be seen from packed gyms to city parks, all summer

According to Seattle Times staff writer Percy Allen the “summer circuit unofficially tipped off” with Rip The Cut at the end of May in the Cleveland High School gym. Once the NBA season ends players with local ties tend to make it back to see family, do charity work and train. With such a strong local network of top-notch players the runs are always good in the summer, and you can get out and see them up close and personal.

“Rip The Cut” featured everyone from Jamal Crawford to Nate Robinson, Aaron Brooks to Tony Wroten Jr. Captains built their own roster, and even Shawn Kemp entered a squad. Crawford’s “Home Team” took home the title, with Franklin High School legend Al Snow (who plays pro all over the globe) taking MVP honors. Proceeds benefited Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research, and players lingered long after it was over signing autographs and taking pictures.

More importantly for a city still stung from losing it’s Sonics, it means you can experience a different side of basketball that can be very entertaining. Things happen at these events, people gossip about them and word of mouth takes it across the region. There was the time Desmond Mason did a dunking exhibition at Rainier Beach HS, throwing lobs off the back wall and doing stuff better than what won him the dunk contest in 2001. As recently as last year with Washington Wizard’s former No. 1 overall pick John Wall in town, young Tony Wroten Jr. made a splash by going head up with him several times down the court and scoring at will.

High school prospects use these pick up games to get on the court with their idols. The chance to learn and be mentored has been a real factor in putting players into the NBA. If they catch someone slippin’ it also means their recruiting stock can rise. The jokes and trash talk between these players is as much fun as the action, and at any moment something could happen that would make national news. Its only a YouTube upload away.

“If you know anything about Seattle, you know that all the hometown kids make it back for the summer,” DIME Magazine writer Aron Phillips said last July. “And what does that mean? Crazy action.”
4E can tell you the best spot to catch this kind of game is at the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am held at the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club on MLK Way. Its happening every Saturday and Sunday in August from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm. Admission is $5 and it’s free family-friendly fun for those under 17.

Save the date on July 29th when Crawford hosts the All-Star Game for the league and it includes a dunk contest, as well as three-point marksman shootout. Dunk artists like Kevin “Golden Boy” Kemp are known to enter these spectacles, do a quick google search on him if you ain’t up on it. Not every city has this kind of scene so we at 4E are all about taking advantage of a good thing that’s hard to find.

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