Written by Chris Reichert. Chris is a basketball blogger who writes about almost anything related to the sport. You can find him on Twitter @Chris_Reichert and you can find his work at: HoopsHabit.com, RidiculousUpside.com (on SB Nation!) and Crabdribbles.com.
No doubt about it, week 3 of the Pro-Am was the most exhilarating of them all so far. Not only did the Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, show up but there were numerous special guests and crazy individual performances as well - which is what you would expect when you have NBA guys lacing em' up during the summer!
Isaiah Thomas vs. Jamal Crawford
The 2:30pm game on Saturday provided the fans of Seattle with all they could've hoped for. Jamal Crawford and the DRG Wolverines were taking on the Ballislife Vikings and for the first time since being traded to the Phoenix Suns, Isaiah Thomas was in the building. The matchup certainly did not disappoint as the two guards went back and forth all game long - with Thomas letting the refs know he didn't like all the calls Crawford was getting the whole way!
The tipping point was with the clock running down in the 4th and Jamal's Wolverines down one. Jamal did his trademark crossover to pull up three for the win...he missed...but about two seconds after he missed the whistle blew and the refs called a shooting foul on Thomas. You would have thought it was the start of World War III! Thomas threw the ball to the other end of the court and went in on that ref for the call (which was a bad call btw), he then proceeded to take off his shoes and jersey and he left the court.
Crawford - being an amazing sport - made the first free throw and purposely missed the next two so that they could battle in out in overtime. Thomas ended up coming back and finishing out overtime and leading his Vikings to a 135-127 victory. Thomas finished with 47 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists while Crawford had 42 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Isaiah Thomas vs. Will Conroy
Seems, the 2:30pm game is the place to be if you want to see fireworks! Sunday's matchup pegged Isaiah's Vikings vs Conroy's BrandBlack Vandals and once again it came down to the wire and a questionable call. Though they didn't guard each other often Conroy and Thomas stole the show and were both very aggressive looking to score the basketball and get their team a win.
With 10 seconds left Isaiah's team was up two points, but Conroy's team was about to inbound the ball. Thomas' coach had informed Thomas to foul intentionally after a couple of seconds went off the clock. The ball was inbounded and Thomas fouled Conroy multiple times without it being called and then went Conroy went up for his floater the ref inexplicably blew his whistle and I thought Thomas was going to blow a gasket. He came over and said, "That's two days in a row man! These refs don't know what they're doin' out here!".
Conroy made his free throw and the Vandals won 128-127 after a last minute heave by Thomas missed. Conroy finished with a triple-double at 46 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists and Isaiah had 59 points and 11 assists - quite the debut weekend for Thomas as he averaged 53 points and 10 assists!
The Main Event - Kobe Bryant
Sunday was a hectic day. The games at the Pro-Am are normally at 1:00pm, 2:30pm and 4:00pm and the place is empty by 5:45pm tops - on this day, however Jamal had announced via Twitter that Kobe Bryant and Gary Payton would be showing up for his game (scheduled for 4:00pm) later that day. They were all at Richard Sherman's Celebrity Softball game and ended up coming to the arena around 5:15pm for Crawford's game.
Imagine an arena full of people (about 1,500 strong) standing, holding their collective breath, while waiting to see one of the greatest basketball players of our time right in front of them.
First, Jamal came out and took the microphone. He thanked everyone for coming out as usual and introduced his special guest, "I'm so thrilled to be able to have this guy show up here in Seattle for you guys, he's the Michael Jordan of our era....KOBE BRYANT!" Kobe came out from a back door and the place erupted, everyone was standing and it was pure hysteria. Kobe shook the players' hands and took a seat with his wife in the front row. Later, Gary Payton, R&B artist Tank and even Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor were in attendance to watch the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year put on an electrifying performance --- and that he did.
Crawford finished the game with 62 points and six assists and put a rubber stamp on the weekend with a buzzer-beating dagger three-pointer to cap off the game, and get a win for his DRG Wolverines. It was truly a magical performance and to do it when all the pressure is (he knew he had to perform with Kobe in the building) on was just amazing to watch.