Summer league and pro-am basketball are over, and with the NBA lockout prohibiting players from team training facilities for the usual pre-training camp workout sessions, they are looking for other options. So when local trainer Hanif Hill called Jeff Green last week to see if he would be interested in playing a charity game in the District featuring only NBA players, the Hyattsville native and former Georgetown star was eager to have a chance to stay sharp – and stay home.
“I was all in,” Green said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “It gives us something to do as far as coming together, bringing the NBA to D.C. and continue the competition that we have with each other. Playing summer basketball, man. We love the sport, we love our job, and we just want to continue until things get solved.”
Hill, a former coach at Cardozo High in Northwest Washington, has rounded up some of his clients and other NBA players to play in a game that will surely draw a nice crowd and raise some money for a good cause. Billed as “Clash of the Superstars,” the game will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Calvin Coolidge High School in Northwest. It will feature Kevin Durant, former Georgetown stars Green and Greg Monroe, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, Oklahoma City guards James Harden and Eric Maynor, Charlotte Bobcats draft pick Kemba Walker, New Orleans guard and Fort Washington native Jarrett Jack, Dallas guard Corey Brewer and Cleveland forward Samardo Samuels, among others. John Wall is expected to play, but will make an appearance even if he doesn’t, Hill said.
“I don’t train with all of them, but all of them know me and I have a great relationship with all those guys,” Hill said.
The Beltway area has been the center for star-studded exhibition games this summer. And, after the much-hyped pro-am league duel between the Goodman League and the Drew League at Trinity University and the exciting battle featuring Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul at Morgan State, another is on the way.
Hill has trained several NBA players at the Boys & Girls Club 10 in Northwest — including Durant, Monroe, Minnesota forward Michael Beasley, Sacramento guard Tyreke Evans and Golden State guard Monta Ellis — and organized the event in less than a week. He first got a commitment from Durant, then added Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls to serve as commentator. Tickets will be sold at the door only for $30 general admission and $20 for youth. Hill said that it only took for hours to sell 40 floor seats worth $100. Balcony seats are $50.
Hill said proceeds would go to the Boys & Girls Club 10, the Calomiris YMCA, National Capital YMCA and Capital Elite Academy. About 200 at-risk youth will also be allowed to attend for free. “For these young kids to see this, this is like a joy,” Hill said in a telephone interview. “I’m so happy. I’m most happy that it’s in D.C. It means a lot to me to help those kids and to raise money for these non-profit organizations.”
Hill added that he is still waiting for commitments from other NBA players — he’s holding out hope for Evans, Beasley and/or Ellis — and will organize the teams later in the week. “It’s good to have guys come in and play a game and still try to stay competitive and keep that edge going,” Green said. “It’s going to be a fun game. I look forward to it.”