Sunday, October 2, 2011

LeBron James & Dwyane Wade: 10 Thoughts From Their Show at CP3 Charity Game

LeBron James and John Wall showed why they are the two best athletes in the NBA at the CP3 All-Star Pickup Game on the campus of Winston-Salem State University last night. Check out the game’s highlights here.

I didn’t watch the live video feed of Chris Paul’s charity game on the Internet but I did catch the highlights. They were amazing. So amazing, in fact, that they hijacked the retrospective on Zydrunas Ilgauskas’s Miami Heat career that was going to be published today (Heat fans across the world.

LeBron vs. Wall
The big takeaway from the game was that LeBron James and John Wall are clearly the two best athletes in the NBA. Here’s some evidence from

Dwight Howard is athletic as hell, but he doesn’t have the handles and can’t match the speed of LeBron and Wall. Blake Griffin may be basketball’s Incredible Hulk and his handle may be better than Howard’s but it isn’t on the same level as LeBron and Wall, either.

The athletic abilities for an NBA player are speed, strength, leaping ability, agility and hand-eye coordination for passing, catching, shooting, and dribbling. Derrick Rose rates highly in those categories, but he struggles with shooting efficiency and turnovers. And the Eastern Conference Finals showed he isn’t more athletic than Dwyane Wade (who’s 29 years-old).

Top 10 Plays
The top 10 plays from the CP3 All-Star Pickup Game are below with 10 more takeaways.

Honorable Mention: Durant & Wade Windmill Dunks
Takeaways: The rep grows bigger for Kevin Durant and Wade’s starting to decline.

Durant put in work at the FIBA World Championships last summer to establish himself as one of the best players on the planet. This summer, he’s scoured every pro-am pickup game in the country to make sure everybody knows he’s coming for that number one spot.

The difference in elevation between Durant’s windmill and Wade’s is caused by more than height. Wade doesn’t elevate at 29 the way he did at 24 when he was the Finals MVP. It’s a little sad to see.

Honorable Mention: LeBron & Rudy Make It Look Easy
Takeaway: Rudy Gay looked healthy.

Imagine what the Memphis Grizzlies could’ve done against the Oklahoma City Thunder with him on the floor. Durant struggled shooting in some games of that series and he never had to guard anybody. Rudy would’ve made him work on both ends of the floor.

Honorable Mention: Wall Kills Sick Pump Reverse
Takeaway: Exhibit A in the case of Wall being the second-best athlete in the NBA.

10. J.R. Catches Sick Put Back
Takeaway: J.R. Smith was the most exciting player on the Denver Nuggets and he’ll be balling in China until the spring. 

Denver's Pepsi Center will be the opposite of Atlanta's Philips Arena next season with no all-stars or human highlight filmmakers on the roster. It's the No Highlight Factory.

9. Wall’s 360 In Traffic
Takeaway: Exhibit B in the case of Wall being the second-best athlete in the NBA.

8. LeBron Blocks CP3 Dunk Attempt
Takeaway: CP3's knee looked right and his mind is in the right place.

LeBron got the best of CP3 on this dunk but the game recap video from showed Paul getting a bangout. It was doubtful that he'd ever get another dunk against elite competition after his last knee surgery so it was good to see him with his lift back.

In addition to keeping players in shape, one of the best things about these summer exhibition games is that players like CP3 and Carmelo Anthony hosted the events at their local historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Bill Rhoden criticized black athletes and HBCUs for not supporting each other in his book Forty Million Dollar Slaves.

It’s good to see that wasn’t the case with some NBA players’ charity games. CP3, a Winston-Salem native, held his event at Winston-Salem State University and Melo held his event at Morgan State University.

7. Wade & LeBron Go Off the Board
Takeaway: Rumors of Wade’s decline were greatly exaggerated; Exhibit A in the case for LeBron being the best athlete in the NBA.

Concerns about Wade’s athleticism declining after his windmill were alleviated by his dunk off the backboard with his head at the rim. Simply amazing.

LeBron’s double-clutch alley-oop off the glass to himself was on another level. It takes a certain level of elite athlete to throw a simple pass off the glass for a dunk in the game. LeBron double-pumped his pass off the glass to himself while he levitated in the air and then dunked it. ‘Nuff said.

6. Gay Dunks On Own Team With Oop
Takeaway: The Southwest Division will have its hands full with the Grizzlies next season if they stay healthy.

5. Durant Eastbays In Game
Takeaway: Durant knows what needs to be done to keep his rep up.

It’s easy to get overlooked in an exhibition like CP3’s charity game. Durant went between the legs for his dunk to give the fans the show they came to see and keep his name ringing out.

4. Durant Ignites Crowd With Sick Oop
Takeaway: Stephen Curry would be amazing if he played with a real superstar.

Durant got credited with the highlight but he just finished what Steph Curry started. The alley-oop above the square off the bounce? A lot of point guards wouldn’t have made that play, but Steph did.

Imagine if he had an all-star running with him in Golden State? He would be a nightly highlight package with his court vision, passing and shooting. His handle’s underrated, too. Curry's a young Steve Nash if he stays healthy.

3. Wall Does Behind the Back Dunk
Takeaway: Wall vs. Griffin will be one of the best dunk contests in NBA history.

Wall’s injuries in his rookie season robbed fans of a good Rookie of the Year race, but the real tragedy was his absence from the dunk contest. Wall vs. Griffin will be the best dunk contest final since Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Willkins in 1988. They will do for the dunk contest what Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did for the NBA in the 1980s.

2. Wall Destroys Off Wall Windmill
Takeaway: Wall will win a dunk contest before his NBA career is over.

Griffin’s dunk over a car was historic, but Wall throwing himself an alley-oop off the back wall of the gym was illmatic. Of course, there is no wall behind the basket in NBA arenas so he’ll have to come up with something different to win a dunk contest, but he should be fine with the creativity he displayed in CP3’s charity game.

1. LeBron KILLS Oops
Takeaway: The best athlete in the NBA rests his case.

Look at the video again. LeBron extended his arm beyond the backboard in order to catch the alley-oop from Wade and then dunked it with his head at the rim. Melo and the fans at WSSU did the only thing you can do after something like that - hold your head and bow down to something greater than yourself.

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