This past weekend, LeBron James did something he hadn’t done since the NBA lockout in 2011: play in the Drew League. For those who don’t know, the Drew League is a summer Pro-Am league that has ran in South Central Los Angeles since 1973. Through the course of its history, the Drew has had some iconic moments, such as when Kobe Bryant said no to the security team that wanted to take him out of the game early before ultimately hitting the game winner. And, this past Saturday, we got another iconic moment as four time NBA MVP winner LeBron James teamed up for a game with Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan, who’s played in the Drew every summer since he was a teenager. Here’s how it went down, and how truly unprecedented this was.
It all started with a tweet Friday night from DeMar DeRozan in which the Compton native tweeted a crown emoji followed by “x DeBo”. It was then later confirmed by the Drew commissioner that LeBron and DeMar were indeed scheduled to team up for a game. Another NBA star, Kyrie Irving, was also scheduled to play, but would end up not showing. So, it was LeBron & DeMar’s show, and they dud not disappoint. LeBron played to the crowd throughout the game. The 4 time NBA Finals MVP chucked up deep 3 after deep 3, while also throwing in some ridiculous fadeaway’s and some monster slams that a man in his 20th year now playing professional basketball should simply not be able to do. As for DeMar, he struggled for his standards, but still put up an impressive 30 points while consistently trash talking with the other team. In the end, the NBA stars team, the MMV Cheaters, snuck by in a surprisingly close game, 104-102, thanks to LeBron’s 42 points and 16 rebounds that pushed his team over the top. Following the game, James was immediately escorted out of the gym to his car, but not before showing some love to, of all people, LaVar Ball, the father of one of LeBron’s former teammates, Lonzo Ball. However, the statline and win was arguably not the most notable part of the day. In a move not ever seen before, the NBA put up a stream on its official app and website of the game, meaning Drew league branding was plastered all over, giving the league exposure that no Pro-Am scene has seen before. In addition, players on both teams got the once in a life time opportunity to be on the same floor as generational NBA talents. MMV Cheater teammate and USC senior Point Guard, Boogie Ellis, threw a lob to James that went viral. In addition, many of the opposing players went to twitter to express how truly amazing playing against a player of LeBron’s status meant to them, with even some throwing in some friendly trash talk. Overall, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
So, the Drew league this weekend not only involved a win for the MMV Cheaters, but also was a huge W in the win column for the Drew league itself, the Pro-Am scene, and the players on the court. I am sure this will not be the last time we see NBA stars play at the Drew, and the basketball world can’t wait for the next internet breaking moment the league will produce.