Once in a while, we see hip-hop stars and actors sharing the hardcourt with known NBA players. It has been a social media trend that has caught Tim Grover's ire. So much so that he recalled those practice games with the great Dwyane Wade and how he banned non-basketball players from even entering the gym.
Only real ballers allowed
Grover is most known for being Michael Jordan's personal trainer. Like the GOAT, Grover was obsessed with detail and almost had the same tenacity as Jordan when it came to competition. His work with Jordan gave him much leverage to work with other stars. Among them is Wade, who recalled those pickup games where only real ballers were allowed.
"Back then, Dwyane knows. We didn't allow entertainers to play in those pickup games. We didn't allow rappers. We didn't allow actors. We didn't allow any of that stuff. You go to a lot of places now where it's more about getting the social media view. You had to be a legitimate NBA player just to even get on the court. We'd have rookie have like, listen, 'you're not playing today,'" Grover said.
With the offseason just around the corner, expect to see your favorite (or most hated) rapper or actor rubbing elbows with NBA players. Expect clips of these entertainers draining baskets, making nifty behind-the-back passes, or any form of highlight aimed to make them look legit. But, as Grover said, these are merely for the views that somewhat downplay the real intent of these pickup games.
Working on their craft
Grover does not have anything against these celebrities. He is just protecting the welfare of the athletes. They just do not go to open gym to sweat it out. It is in these pickup games where players like Wade get to test out their newfound skill: be it a new move, a new jumper, or the effects of a new health regimen. It is just unfair to match up an NBA player against a casual baller. One is trying to make ends meet, while the other is just having fun.
Perhaps it's a good time to remind ourselves of the viral clip featuring Devin Booker. The man had traumatic flashbacks when he saw two people on him. So much so that he requested not to be double-teamed.
In classic Joakim Noah fashion, the former Chicago Bulls big man shut down Booker's request. We can hear someone saying, "let's work on our game," in the background, too.
Whether you are on Booker's or Noah's side, one thing is pretty clear. These open-court games are pretty intense. Maybe even as fierce or even more competitive than actual NBA games. This little clip supports Grover's point. There is just no room for non-ballers in pickup games filled with NBA stars or even prospects. There are levels to this.