As an International basketball player, I take pleasure in the offseason just like anyone else. It is a time to relax and unwind from the long and drawn-out season. The same applies to NBA players as well. This is a chance for players to spend more time with family and friends. The time they did not have during the season. Another enjoyment NBA players love doing during the offseason is playing pick-up games.
And what better pick-up games are there than the Pro-Am leagues? You have the Drew League, which is possibly the most popular. The Rucker Park League. The Miami Pro league and The Crowsover League just to name a few. These leagues are scattered throughout the country and present some of the best talents. It has become a nesting ground for NBA players and is a delight to entertain a crowd and do it for fun when the game doesn’t matter.
And as hoop fans, they can embrace the community-driven leagues that give kids a chance to see their favorite players/idols in action. And for free. It is an opportunity most kids in the community wouldn’t get anywhere else. Basketball being played where it all started, in the playgrounds and old-school gyms.
The negative side to the Pro-Am leagues is the risk of injuries. It is the NBA’s front office’s worst nightmare. A nightmare the Oklahoma City Thunder face with their #2 NBA Draft Pick Chet Holmgren.
After Holmgren’s injury, should the NBA ban their players from playing in Pro-Am Summer Leagues?
Chet Holmgren season ending injury
The “Crawsover” Pro-Am is a league in Seattle, Washington created by former NBA star Jamal Crawford. The league has witnessed Lebron James, Chris Paul amid other NBA stars. On this particular day Lebron James was the highlight of the event.
— Chris Egan King-5 TV (@ChrisEgan5) August 20, 2022
Holmgren also engaged in the Pro-Am along with NBA stars Jayson Tatum, and Dejounte Murray. Not long after a tip-off in the event Holmgren sustained an injury while defending Lebron James on a fast break. There didn’t seem to be must contact. However, Holmgren suffered a Lisfranc injury to his right foot and will miss the 2022-2023 season as a result.
Chet holmgren is really out the whole year after guarding lebron once for 10 seconds in a pro am game pic.twitter.com/O5jjrKsN0F
— John (@iam_johnw) August 25, 2022
I know you may be thinking well injuries happen all the time. It can happen during practice or an NBA game. Maybe it was just a strange injury that could happen to anyone. All of which is true the majority of the time. However, the danger of an injury can be substantially higher against non-professional athletes. Here’s why.
Non-professionals competitive nature
A non-professional athlete going up against an NBA player is a dream come true to some. A lifetime opportunity at this magnitude does not come so often. It is a story they can tell their kids and grandkids. So when faced with the best NBA athletes in the world one can expect the non-professionals are going to be competitive as possible. Not that one is trying to hurt the other. It’s just the competitive nature of people.
Is it safe to say NBA owners are not a fan of the Pro-Am league? After what happened to Chet Holmgren I can imagine the owners taking a few steps back. Player safety is a number one priority for NBA owners. And while they are not able to always oversee their players or avoid unexpected injuries, owners can help prevent the possibility of injuries occurring.
By excluding players from playing in the Pro-Am leagues, it can possibly lower the likelihood of another Holmgren-type injury.