Mike Gansey fighting through a backwards screen - I think. Or that guy was boxing out a bit too far from the bucket.
When was the last time you played a game that ended in a tie? Off the top of my head I can only think of a couple sports (soccer and hockey) that a final score can finish in a tie ball game. Well, I was mistaken, because tonight in our NBA Legends/D-Leaguers (NBA Generations ultimately was our actual team name) game against the China Aoshen team, a tie eventually served as the final outcome.
While my teammates and I had no idea how to approach these games, how they played out would be like no other game I have ever played.
The day started off with Fort Wayne’sRyan Ayers (aka fellow 21st floor resident) and I going to the great American style breakfast that they serve in the Sheraton Chengdu Lido Hotel’s second floor. They have it all here: A feast of food everywhere from omelets to mini-sized pancakes and French toast to a fruit selection fit for a king.
Robert Horry joined us at breakfast and he was telling us his experience doing TV work with TNT and NBATV and working with the likes of Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Steve Smith. It was very interesting to hear that being in front of a camera talking basketball is not as easy as it looks for him. Horry mentioned that NBATV’s Rick Kamla might know every basketball stat in the world and has never met anyone with so much knowledge. He also said everyone’s favorite Charles Barkley is the best because he is not afraid to say what's on his mind and that’s what separates him for everyone else on TV.
The first game of the China trip took place tonight and what an event it turned out to be.
First, Robert Horry was being his awesome self again and telling us stories from the Lakers and Spurs in the locker room before the game. Horry said former NBA players Larry Johnson and Chuck Person were always two of his toughest match-ups when he played. Head Coach Dee Brown still has the bounce from when he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1991 as before the game he threw the ball of the backboard and tomahawk dunked it effortlessly. Springfield’s Kyle McAlarney, Chris Mullin and I pretty much did a shooting workout together before the game as we shot about 300 three-pointers each. I thought I would never be able to say this but I was in the same starting five with Chris Mullin and Robert Horry. Mullin and Gansey in the backcourt baby! (Sorry had to say that)
How these games worked was Mullin and Horry would play the 1st and 3rd quarters and matchup with the two Chinese player legends for the Aoshen team (sorry, don’t remember the names). However, at halftime Mullin and Horry would switch jerseys and play for Aoshen in the 3rd quarter as the Chinese Legends would play for us. Yes, I know, very awkward, as pretty much the 2nd and 4th quarters would be the only seriously competitive basketball. The 1st and 3rd quarters would be the Legends putting on a show as Mullin at one point hit three 3-pointers in a row in the 3rd quarter for the Aoshen team. I believe Mullin ended up with about 16 points in little less than twenty minutes of playing time.
How are you supposed to take these games seriously when trading players at halftime? It felt like YMCA pick-up basketball out on the floor and was hard to play because it was so laid back. However, this night was for the people of China and to see them cheering and having so much fun during the game made the night for me.
But the most bizarre thing occurred at the end of the game.The time left on the clock struck zero and it was 92-92. There was a huge decision to be made. Since the game was on local TV in China they had to be done by 9:25pm. Yes, you heard that right. Before the game I was told no matter what happens, at 9:25 the TV broadcast is OVER. Imagine if one second was left and the time hit 9:25. I guess you’re out of luck seeing what happens in the end. I am not even sure what time it was when the 4th quarter ended, but after the staff debated what to do, they ultimately decided to call the game then. A tie it was. Unbelievable. I guess at least nobody went home a loser!
Here’s to hoping tomorrow nights game doesn’t end in a tie again…