Without the normal summer league ball and player movement to quench our NBA thirst this summer, a lot of us have turned to the summer pro-am circuit for our fix. Kevin Durant has torn up Rucker Park, NYC Pro City, and the Drew League (among many others). LeBron James is another big name who showed up for a Drew League game. So when Kobe appeared at the Drew, it just seemed like another NBA star dropping by to get some run.
Except he didn’t. Instead of dropping by for a game like everyone else, Kobe’s reps had to set up a special game for him.
Dino Smiley: [...] we talked about it, and I said, “You know what? We haven’t set up an All-Star game. Why don’t we do an All-Star game on a Sunday night?” He was gonna be leaving out early Monday morning and coming back. Couldn’t do it. So finally, Sunday evening, I get a call. “Kobe wants to play the game, but wants to play at two o’clock on a Tuesday.” I’m like, “Two o’clock on a Tuesday? We don’t play Drew League games during the week.”
It was ironic, because the team [playing against Goodman] was going to have practice that day at 6 pm. So I tell him, “The guys are coming down. Let me see if I can get them to come down early. I don’t want to put it on Twitter and I don’t want to put it out to the media or anything like that, and the guy doesn’t show up. You guys gotta give me a 110 percent that he’s coming.”
And they were like, “No, he’s definitely coming. He definitely wants to play. And he only wants to play in the Drew league in that gym. He doesn’t want to play anywhere else.” And I know it’s because of LeBron [James] and [Kevin] Durant. They played and got a buzz. (Laughs) We were like, “Okay, let’s try to make it happen.”
So there it is from the Commissioners mouth. Kobe didn’t drop by the Drew League for a game. Kobe crashed what was supposed to be a practice for the big Drew/Goodman showdown, had it turned into a glorified scrimmage, and then basked in the glory of the moment when he hit a game winning shot.
Of course, Kobe’s no stranger to manufactured opportunities to get some good pub. His PR people won’t let a good moment slip by without him getting in on the action.
It’s one thing to drop by one of these leagues and get a game in. Everyone does it. But to call the league and have them whip up a game so you can get the YouTube accolades smacks of insecurity. It’s the basketball equivalent of an aging actress’ plastic surgery to keep up with the kids. We know it’s fake. It looks fake. You’re not fooling anyone.