JR Rider and Jalen Rose Battle It Out
A recap of the first annual 3ON3 Legend’s Challenge.
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
Unless your name is Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson or Bill Russell, NBA fans forget your name as soon as you hang up your sneakers. What happens to the Isaiah Riders or Bryon Russells or Penny Hardaways? They come to All-Star Weekend and lace ‘em up for tournaments like the 3ON3 Legend’s Challenge, which was held at the USC Galen Center yesterday before All-Star Saturday night.
On hand to participate in the double elimination tourney were players like “Cat” Mobley, Vernon Maxwell, Tracy Murray, Dale Davis, Armon Gilliam, James “Hollywood” Robinson, John Wallace, Cedric Ceballos (announcer), Eric Williams of Basketball Wives fame and former Fab Five great and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose.
“Being able to play in this tournament was so much love, man,” Rose said. “There’s so much wisdom, so much knowledge and so much wisdom in this room. Just to be able to play against these brothers, stay in shape, have some fun and shake a couple hands of fans, it’s all good.”
When things got under way, it was clear that the guys had about as much rust as pipes in an abandoned building. But as the game clocks ticked, the creaky knees were oiled like the Tin Man and guys like Vernon “Mad Max” Maxwell got loose and started raining threes.
“I think I ran my wad out now though,” Maxwell said. “So far, the game plan has been to get the ball to Mad Max and let him go.”
Guys like Penny Hardaway, Cuttino Mobley and J.R. Rider also showed flashes of brilliance before being eliminated before the championship game. Rider didn’t elevate for a dunk, but got some good minutes in front of a receptive crowd.
“Two and done,” Rider said. “Guess we weren’t good enough today. I don’t play hoops at all anymore. I’m a family man now. Just take care of the kids and chill.”
In the final game, Mobley nailed two triples and JRose hit the final shot from behind the arc to seal the 15-12 W for his squad.
“You know what? This was just a fun game and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Rose said. “Of course my last shot went in, but hopefully this event just gets bigger and better.”
Event organizer Talani Goodson was very pleased with the way the tournament played out and looks forward to making it an annual event.
“This was phenomenal,” Goodson said. “This was the first time for the event and next year in Orlando, it’s gonna be even better. All of these guys competed. I know a lot of these guys are gonna need to put some ice on their creaking knees after the game, but they played well. They might have lost a step and might not jump as high as they once could, but you can still see that fire in their eyes to compete. It was an excellent event. Can’t wait til next year.”