he fortunate souls that were allowed to cram into a tiny gymnasium in Northeast Washington on Saturday weren’t just privy to the most anticipated basketball game since the NBA locked out its players in June, they were also witnesses to a game that truly mattered to the participants. The collection of talent on the court didn’t seek payment, only to represent where they were from or the places that they’ve come to adopt as home.
When Kevin Durant deflected James Harden’s final, fallaway game-winning attempt and the buzzer sounded on the Goodman League’s 135-134 victory over the Los Angeles-based Drew League at Trinity University, the District native and two-time all-star proudly stomped down the court as a beyond-capacity crowd erupted in cheers. John Wall lifted his jersey, which read “Goodman League,” and gleefully sprinted toward his bench to celebrate a win that clearly represented more than just a friendly exhibition between two prominent summer pro-am leagues.
“It just shows how many people really love the game of basketball,” said Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, who scored at team-high 38 points in a losing effort for the Drew League. “It was no money involved, no nothing. Just pure showing love to D.C.”