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The Magic Continues: Baron Davis and Paul Pierce's LA Stars Celebrity and NBA Basketball Games
On a mid-summer night every year for two decades, some of the biggest names in basketball and Hollywood were summoned to the hardwood by Magic Johnson and a good cause. Last year, Magic stepped down and handed over the torch to Baron Davis and Paul Pierce, two NBA All-Stars and native Angelenos.
Sunday night at USC's Galen Center, the Davis/Pierce administration carried on the tradition of sloppy yet utterly entertaining basketball for charity for the Second Annual LA Stars Weekend.
The night kicked off with the celebrity basketball game which included the likes of Scrubs' Donald Faison, boxer, Sugar Shane Mosely, Superman Brandon Routh, and of course Snoop Dogg.
While the NBA may not have liked this ball, actor Corey Hardrict didn't mind it at all. He carried the blue team, coached by B-Davis, to victory with 40 points. Yes, 40 points in a celebrity game. During a break in the action he told Best Damn Sports Show's Chris Rose, who emceed the event alongside ESPN Radio's John Ireland, "I ball for real so it's not really fair."
It is fair, however, to say that every celebrity basketball game has the one guy who takes the game a little too seriously. On Sunday night, that guy was Flex Alexander.
Flex was calling for the ball relentlessly with the traditional hand clap, which was then followed up with a conversation with the teammate who didn't pass him the ball to let them know that he was open. Flex would eventually get the ball, and would lose it out of bounds on a fast break layup with not one person near him. This, of course, lead him to look at his hands and wonder how the ball slipped out of them and into the second row.
Superman is strong enough to move planets, faster than the speed of sound, but can't make an easy layup.
The blue team's lone girl Alison Sweeney of "All My Children", was playing a lot like Charles Oakley, if Oak (who as of last week reportedly wants to return to the NBA) were a blond female that is, diving for loose balls all over the floor.
Fortunately, she didn't get hurt. Snoop however, did get hurt. After scoring on a layup, D-O-Double G came up limping with an injured ankle. This didn't stop him though. Snoop stayed in the game and played quite well, bummed ankle and all.
Bill Bellamy, Donald Faison and Joel David Moore showed hints of some game.
Fortunately the chance to watch guys with more than a hint of game, the NBA Stars game, was just around the corner.
There was about 30 minutes in between games and Laker, Maurice Evans used all 30 to warm up for the game, which as a reminder was for charity. Laker fans have to appreciate that kind of work ethic. To put it into perspective, Andre Miller was the next guy to start shooting and that was about 20 minutes later.
The NBA game pitted the LA Stars (Blue), NBA guys from the LA area which included our hosts Pierce and Davis, former UCLA stars Aaron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar, Marcus Williams, former USC Trojan, Gabe Pruitt and Clipper Cuttino Mobley against the NBA Stars (White), NBA guys that aren't from LA but couldn't pass up a weekend in LA which included Jason Kidd, Antoine Walker and former Trojan Nick Young.
The man who started it all, Magic Johnson spoke at center court prior to the game. Ireland introduced him as "the greatest basketball player in Los Angeles history." John won't be emceeing any of Kareem's charity events after that one.
The game was so laid back that Farmar, who caught two incredible dunks, didn't even take off his diamond earring.
The game didn't come as easy to Ricky Davis who missed four wide open dunks in the first quarter. Four missed dunks in a charity exhibition game and none of them were attempts to increase his rebound numbers to earn a triple-double.
UCLA alum Matt Barnes, who was wearing an absent Derek Fisher's jersey, threw himself an amazing alley-oop off the glass. Former Bruin, Ryan Hollins had the dunk of the night. The seven-footer posterized Dahntay Jones when he dunked in a miss off the boards while the former Blue Devil could do nothing but look up and watch.
Bruins weren't the only ones rocking the rim, former Trojans, Pruitt and Young were delivering some jaw dropping dunks of their own as well.
While Trojan fans were enjoying players from their not-so-distant past, they also got to see a Trojan from the not-so-distant future,
Lil Romeo, who didn't play but did annoy anyone who sat behind him and his giant afro.
The highlight of the night for me, was getting to sit in the press area which allowed me to sit behind the great J.A. Adande. I got to watch a master at work. I looked over his shoulder as he ate Doritos and Red Vines while working on his story on his laptop which fortunately wasn't taken by Marcus Williams.
The real highlight of the night was the charitable spirit in the air. NBA players taking a weekend away from their summer vacations to have some fun, watch Ricky Davis miss some dunks, and give back to the community.
Photo by AP