The much hyped and well attended charity game, the South Florida All-Star Classic, lived up to its billing Saturday night. In front of a packed house of somewhere between 4,000-5,000 fans at Florida International University's U.S. Century Bank Arena, Dwyane Wade's Team beat LeBron James' team 141-140 in overtime. LeBron, Wade, and Chris Bosh used their drawing power to pull in a cadre of the NBA's best talent.
In a game where players competed a little bit harder than in other games and two of the NBA's best often went head-to-head to the delight of the fans, it was a phenomenal showcase of the players' natural competitive spirit. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook played with LeBron and you get to see a little bit of each man's flourish during the pre-game "lay-up" line:
Meanwhile, James Harden was tapped to play for Wade and as we have seen in the past, operates as a great "glue guy" to help teams hold together and win.
A few more comments after the jump:
- Per our SBN Heat brethren Peninsula is Mightier, we have this great quote from Chris Bosh, which indicates that a lot of these guys are really getting the fact that it is they, and not the owners, who are the true shepherds of the game:
"I think we're all starved for basketball. I think everybody is. I miss basketball. We all do. Given the enormity of this situation, all these great guys coming together for a good cause and playing at a venue that never probably has ever seen anything like this and people getting excited about it . . . just to bring a real true excitement is fun.''
- The games have continued to rise in production value, and this one was aired by a local CBS affiliate. As a result, we're starting to see a lot of high quality photos and video coming forth.
- The game was also streaming online, which means that the game in its entirety has found its way to Youtube. I'm sticking the links to the game below the fold so that hopefully it will stay below the radar and remain online for you to enjoy. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
- LeBron gave a heartfelt speech at the end of the game, thanking the fans and everyone involved in the game. Perhaps one of the thing that James is learning from these events is that fans can handle all stripes of players, but the one thing that turns them off is when the athletes are phonies. He just needs to be real with the fanbase and treat them with dignity and they will stick with him.
- There is still a remarkable reverence that many players have toward Isiah Thomas, and it looks like Thomas has become the unofficial godfather of elite players. While Thomas' front office failings are numerous and well documented, one thing that is unshakable is the fact that Thomas was as fierce a competitor as they come and had a remarkable way of galvanizing players around him. Also, the charity for which the game raised money Thomas' charity, which he founded in honor of his late mother. Reports indicate that about $100,000 was raised.
- The game even featured a buzzer-beater by, the best buzzer-beater on the floor- Carmelo Anthony:
- Reports indicate that defense was in fact played in this game. Watch it for yourself and see.