Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
All basketball fans know August is the slowest month on the NBA calendar. The previous season feels like a distant memory. The NBA Draft, free agency, and summer league are all in the rearview mirror.
Besides the excitement of the schedule release day which took place earlier this week, there is not much to discuss. But luckily for fans and media alike, several NBA players have been in a giving mood this year.
It seems like more players are participating in Pro-Am exhibition games around the country than ever before. Two of the most notable examples include LeBron James playing at the Drew League in Compton, California, and the battle between Dejounte Murray and Paolo Banchero at The CrawsOver in Seattle, Washington.
Tonight, fans are treated to the best game yet. A handful of high-profile players are making the pilgrimage to Seattle to play with each other at The CrawsOver. Below is everything you need to know.
Headlining the event is arguably the greatest player of all time – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Most fans thought James playing at the Drew League was a passing phenomenon, like a solar eclipse or cicadas hatching. But 'King James' is back on the court tonight.
Next is Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray and Orlando Magic forward Paolo Banchero. Murray was traded to the Hawks this offseason, and Banchero was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft is also playing. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren is taking part in the action. Also, Milwaukee Bucks rookie MarJon Beauchamp is scheduled to play. Lastly, NBA veteran Isaiah Thomas will play in front of his hometown fans again.
The star-studded game is scheduled for Saturday, August 20 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. However, these games have been known to start late sometimes due to an earlier game running long.
But the best part is that fans can watch the game for free on the NBA App & NBA.com. While we do not know if there will be an on-demand option for fans who miss the live event, there are still other ways of watching the highlights. For example, fans can count on YouTube channels like BallisLife to post all of the highlights.
The most important reason to watch this game is that James is playing in it. The Lakers forward just signed what could be his final NBA contract to stay in Los Angeles and is settling in for the twilight of his career. Basketball fans worldwide need to make a concerted effort to enjoy James as much as possible before he retires in a few years.
Secondly, has to be the beef between Murray and Banchero. On August 7, the two players got heated playing against each other at The CrawsOver in Seattle. The tension carried over after the game and played out on social media for all to see. You can read a full recap of what was said here.
If that was not enough, there are still other intriguing storylines. Rookies Holmgreen and Beauchamp have something to prove as they share the floor with NBA veterans. Plus, Thomas is always an exciting player to watch.
Somehow the greatest forward of all time playing in an exhibition game is getting overshadowed by the drama between Murray and Banchero. But NBA fans love beef, and they will get plenty of it tonight.
All eyes will be on the two rivals as they face off for the first time since their heated exchange two weeks ago. Will they resolve their differences or go at it again? Who knows. What we do know is that the Hawks and Magic play in the second game of the 2022-23 NBA season, so this is far from the last time we see these two compete on the hardwood.
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Pat Benson covers the Atlanta Hawks for Sports Illustrated’s All Hawks. He has covered the NBA for several years and is the author of “Kobe Bryant’s Sneaker History (1996-2020)”.
Dejounte Murray Facing Off Against Paolo Banchero Again – Sports Illustrated
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports