The NBA and the players’ union had a seven-hour bargaining session on Saturday that didn’t appear to get the sides much closer to reaching a deal that would ending the lockout, but Chris Paul showed that he probably should get more involved in labor negotiations with his ability to convince many of the league’s best players to come to Winston-Salem, N.C.
John Wall, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, Stephen Curry, J.R. Smith and Kyrie Irving headlined the latest star-studded exhibition at Winston-Salem State University. The game, which raised money for Paul’s charity foundation, was hardly competitive — Durant, Paul and Wall combined to defeat the James-Wade-led team, 175-146 — but it certainly was a showcase for some of the best dunks you’ll see outside of the slam dunk contest on all-star weekend.
Durant compared these games to “recess” and he proved it with an effortless 48 points, while Wall contributed 34 points and engaged in a late-game slam-dunk contest with James. Durant wrote on his Twitter account, “Oh yea @John_Wall and @KingJames had 2 of the nastiest dunks I’ve ever seen! Wowwww.”
JaVale McGee finished second to Blake Griffin in Los Angeles last February, but whenever the season returns, Wall might give McGee a challenge for the best dunker on the team. Wall had some insane jams on Saturday, when he literally tossed the ball off the wall, collected it off the bounce and dunked (should’ve been out of bounds, but who cares?). He also brought down the gym when whirled the ball from left to right behind his back and dunked. James had to stop and take a glance when Wall came down. Durant scrunched up his face as if he smelling a pot of collard greens.
Wall wrote on his Twitter account , “Had alot of fun with my NBA homies at the big bro @CP3 Charity basketball game at #WSSU... Thanks to all the people that came out!!!”
Another player who came out to play was Wizards free agent forward Josh Howard, who scored eight points and had a dunk of his own. Howard has been training regularly in Dallas and in his native North Carolina, and said in a text message that the platelet rich plasma treatment has been helped him regain some strength in his surgically-repaired left knee. Howard played college ball in Winston-Salem at Wake Forest and said he participated in Paul’s charity game because, “people still want to see me play.”