Earlier this month, Lonzo Ball put on a show while playing for the Lakers in the Las Vegas Summer League. After struggling to find his shooting touch in his first game with the team, he recorded a triple-double in his second game and then absolutely exploded during his third game by going off for 36 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. He put together several other impressive performances before being sidelined with a leg injury, but that injury didn’t prevent him from being named the Las Vegas Summer League MVP.
Despite all of that, though, you can now make the argument that LaMelo Ball, not Lonzo, took part in the craziest game in Las Vegas this summer. And some people are already saying that the game might go down as one of the craziest games in AAU history.
On Wednesday night, LaMelo’s Big Ballers AAU team took the court at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas for an Adidas Uprising Summer Championships game against the SC Supreme AAU team, a South Carolina-based squad that features top college recruit Zion Williamson. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Williamson, he has made a name for himself by putting together one highlight reel after another filled with sick dunks and incredibly athletic plays:
Prior to the game, LaMelo’s dad LaVar Ball, who is the coach of the Big Ballers team, tried to hype up the contest by predicting that LaMelo would go off for 40 or 50 points during an interview with Overtime:
He also spoke about how he believes that he and LaMelo could beat Michael Jordan and LeBron James in a game of 2-on-2 while talking with Overtime:
But truthfully, the game didn’t need any more hype than it already had heading into the contest. According to ESPN, between 3,000 and 4,000 people made their way into the Cashman Center to watch the game. People were packed into every square inch of the gym long before the game started:
NBA stars Damian Lillard, Andrew Wiggins, Thon Maker, Jamal Murray, Eric Gordon, and of course, his brother Lonzo Ball were among those in attendance:
And in addition to all of the people inside the gym, there were reportedly another 1,500 waiting outside hoping to get in to watch LaMelo and Williamson play. Here's a look at the line before the game:
There were so many people that, at one point, LeBron showed up hoping to watch the much-anticipated matchup. But he was reportedly advised not to come into the gym because of the crowd:
Several college coaches, who are used to attending AAU games like this one throughout the year, said that Wednesday night's game was unlike anything they had ever seen before:
The closest comparison most people had for the game was the games LeBron played in back in the early 2000s when he was in high school:
Despite the obvious excitement surrounding the game, it was unclear if it would even be played just minutes before it was scheduled to start. One of the organizers for the event told ESPN that local police didn’t give the final OK for the game to begin until about 60 seconds before tip time.
And it wasn’t just people in Las Vegas who were clamoring to see LaMelo and Williamson play, either. Ball Is Life put up a livestream of the game that, according to SB Nation, drew more than 70,000 viewers at one point. In total, the livestream has been viewed more than one million times in just 12 hours:
The game itself was almost an afterthought after everything that led up to it, but both LaMelo and Williamson more than lived up to the hype they generated. LaMelo finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Williamson finished with 31 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals (not to mention several thunderous dunks). But ultimately, SC Supreme pulled out a 104-92 win in front of a packed house. You can watch highlights, courtesy of Overtime, here:
And when it was all over, LaVar stated the obvious while speaking with ESPN. He said that, moving forward, AAU organizers are going to need to pick larger arenas if they want to invite Big Ballers to play.
“They’re gonna have to get a bigger venue,” he said. “When the Big Baller brand come to town, better get something big.”
Whether you love or hate what LaVar and his sons are doing right now, this is just another example of how much chaos they’re creating out there in the world.
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