The NBA stars were out Sunday night at the Cow Palace in Daly City as Bay Area native Drew Gooden hosted his Make-A-Wish Charity game, giving fans a taste of something similar to NBA action amidst the crippling lockout. Both sides were full of talented stars, though it was Ricky Rubio and his first taste of NBA action that stole the show.
The Minnesota Timberwolves point guard showed off skills and interacted with the crowd during the loosely ruled game that raised $10,000 for Gooden's favorite cause, the Make-A-Wish foundation. Rubio eventually came out on the losing side as his Red team fell to the White team 117-92, which had the likes of California native Leon Powe and former Golden State Warrior Al Harrington.
The players played four, 10-minute quarters that included a 15 minute halftime 'show' that was full of big dunks, prime dimes, and lots of laughs.
Rubio drained his first 3-point attempt then timed a perfect alley-oop to DeMar DeRozan for a backdoor slam. He even showed his personable side during the second half when he handed the ball to a fan and asked him to inbound for him.
DeRozan and M.C. Gooden attempted baseline-to-baseline shots during halftime and the game was stopped twice for an on-court shoot-off between players. And when it was time for a sub, players simply jumped on and off the court, taking a page right out of the NHL. DeRozan was said to have had the best dunk of the night, though Joakim Noah unofficially had the the most dunks.
Rubio had nothing but good things to say about his experience:
"It's fun to play with NBA players. It should make it easier when we come back to play."
Rubio signed with the Timberwolves in June, though retains his option to return to Spain, the place where he became the youngest player in the Spanish Professional League at the age of 14 back in 2005. As for the lockout, he's not too worried about it:
"I'm going to stay here for a while to see if we'll play. I can always go back to Spain. So I know I will be playing basketball somewhere this season."
Originally scheduled to be played at the University of San Francisco, the game was switched to the Cow Palace, a much bigger venue, after a concert was canceled.