Summer, Summer, Summertime
JUL 16, 2012 1:30p ET
It's where you add that left hand, that cross-over dibble or that mid-range jump shot. Summertime sets up your season and is so valuable to every career.
It is a true test of a player to work hard with no coach standing over you.
And summertime is everything to a player like myself. Being a late bloomer, I've always had to work twice as hard as the rest.
Summer league is nothing more than offseason basketball. There are several different leagues, of course the NBA's in Las Vegas and several Pro-Am's through the nation. The NBA Summer League is a first look at any team's rookies, returning youth and free agents that might fill a team's needs - a make or break for some. A Pro-Am is a mix of professionals and amateurs competing on one court which can make for some interesting basketball. It's the essence of basketball - where it all started in a sweaty gym with guys playing for nothing more then pride and your love of the game.
The best known leagues are LA's own Drew League, New York's Rucker Park or Washington's Goodman league.
Summertime is no vacation. It starts at 5 a.m. on the track, hitting the gym for drill work and all those summer league games. The tricky part to training is that there's so many different ways to do it.
Every pro is different, some will play any and every where they can and some won't see action till training camps. Pro-Am ball stands as a tradition for some. A Pro-Am let's you get on the court alongside close friends, work on moves and gives you bragging rights to the city.
Last season's lockout made for an interesting summer for NBA players. Not knowing when the season would start - if ever - gave guys an itch to hit the courts.
One of the biggest beneficiaries of the lockout was the Drew League. Some of the NBA's best came to show their games: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant were delighting fans with their summer league play. At times you may see five or more pros on a team. Once a decently popular league turned into the buzz of the town, creating games with standing room only.
I love that for the community, some who can't afford tickets to the game got the chance to catch players up close.
And on that note, I gotta get back to the gym. There's no time to sit back and unwind.
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