With many current and former D-League players gunning for spots on NBA rosters during training camp this month, NBADL teams all over have also done their own part to give certain hopefuls a shot.
Of course, that means minor league hopefuls. Many D-League squads have taken the opportunity over the last couple of weeks to hold open tryouts in various locations. Searching for talent across the globe, team staffs have opened their doors to all those just hoping for a chance to make an impression.
For a reasonable fee, players from all kinds of different backgrounds have the opportunity to do just that. Those anxious to see where they rank against the competition include not only fans just curious to test out their skills, but also basketball journeymen as well. Despite having the proven skills and experience qualifying them enough to be a pro, some are still forced to pay their own way in order to hit the hardwood in front of an NBA executive or two to prove they belong.
Aside from the usual and expected suspects, the Santa Cruz Warriors (entering their inaugural year in the D-League) had a couple of unique standouts during this past weekend's open workout. In addition to a 76 year old man who was crossing such a tryout off his "bucket list," Bay Area rapper Lil B emerged as a surprising roster hopeful, and made quite the positive impression.
In a statement to RidiculousUpside.com, Kirk Lacob (Assistant General Manager of the NBA Warriors, and G.M. of the D-League affiliate) said, "Lil B was one of 68 people who showed up for our open tryouts at Aptos High in Santa Cruz County on Sunday. We love holding open tryouts because we have the opportunity to discover diamonds in the rough, and engage with people who are passionate about sports and willing to put themselves out there to chase their dreams. Lil B was a total team player; he was very respectful of our coaching staff and thrilled about being a part of what we - the Warriors - are creating in Santa Cruz. Since he's from Berkeley, he said he was happy to support Bay Area teams, and we were happy to have him!"
The 5'10" rapper seemed to get mutual pleasure in participating, and took to Twitter to thank the team for the opportunity. He also added that despite his expectation to play some point guard during the tryout, the coaching staff opted to position him at two-guard.
No stranger to the NBA game, Lil B earned some publicity last month when he announced his desire to match up against NBA superstar Kevin Durant one on one. Since, there have been ongoing exchanges, but by taking part in this weekend's tryout, the rapper ventured to prove he may be able to walk the walk after talking the talk.
Lil B's participation further displays just how mainstream the NBA D-League is rapidly becoming. The rapper established his own celebrity and gained notoriety by using both YouTube and MySpace to promote his music. Now with nearly 550,000 followers on Twitter, the rapper is one of the more recognizable figures in his field.
A direct affiliate of the Golden State Warriors, the Santa Cruz squad is readying itself for the upcoming season. Needless to say, the early fluidity and understanding between both squads is quickly proving they'll be one of the more efficiently ran minor league franchises. Should they continue to be on the same page as the NBA Warriors once the season gets underway, the stage for development they offer could really end up benefiting the big league squad.