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“I’m way closer to LeBron than you are to me” - when Brian Scalabrine destroyed amateurs in the Scallenge

White Mamba may not have been a star in the NBA, but he's clearly better than most basketball players outside the Association.
Boston Celtics forward Brian Scalabrine and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

Brian Scalabrine and LeBron James

Brian Scalabrine may not have been an NBA star, but the man played 11 seasons in the Association for a reason. Still, that reality is lost on many players who believe they are better than the "White Mamba." Scalabrine once talked about playing one-on-one against amateur hotshots who thought that way.

The Scallenge

"Playing this YMCA rec league, I dropped 60 in a game," Scalabrine said on Duncan Robinson's podcast. "I wasn't trying to brag or anything like that. It was just like, 'Yeah, I had a good game. I had 60 the other night in my rec league.' So, people immediately started tweeting, 'You suck, Scal. I'll beat you.' I'm like, 'Listen. I may suck for an NBA player. Those guys are pretty good. But I don't suck compared to you. You suck compared to me. ... So, let's just do it.' We invite, basically all of New England can send in their videos. I just went one-on-one against five different guys."

Thus, the Scallenge was born. It was a series of games that ran in 2013 and saw the 6-foot-9 forward go up against any takers of the challenge. Scalabrine didn't go into detail on the podcast about how the games turned out, but the videos are up on YouTube for the world to see.

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To summarize, he faced four players (not five as he stated), with one of them having NCAA Division I experience. Two of them managed to score only three points, while the other two laid goose eggs. All in all, Scalabrine outscored his opponents 44-6.

Clearly, he was a cut above the competition, and he made sure to rub it in. Robinson recalled a famous quote from Scalabrine that made rounds after the challenge.

"There's a legendary quote that came from that, which is that, 'I'm way closer to LeBron than you are to me,'" the Miami Heat sharpshooter said.

Playing at a different level

Scal showed that it takes a special kind of player to make it in the NBA. Although he averaged just 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 0.8 assists per contest in his career, he was still a much better hoopster than those not in the league - even after he retired.

The former Boston Celtics champion also explained what made him different from the guys he dominated outside the Association.

"They don't recognize what you and me do recognize," Scalabrine told Robinson. "When you're in the NBA, there's all kinds of tells, right? Like if a guy puts his hand like that, you know what he's gonna do. If a guy does a hesitation, you know what he's gonna do. All that stuff is like in real time in the NBA, you got to be so on top of the reads. It's not speed. You can't look at me and say my brain is slow. My brain is fast. My body might be slow, but I have to read whether a guy's gonna shoot, drive, go to the middle, pass. If you're not reading those things, you're not playing in the NBA."

Hopefully, the Scallenge anecdote from none other than White Mamba can help people following the league appreciate every NBA player's greatness, even those who don't see any court time in most games.

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