Thursday, June 13, 2013
J.R. eyes Pacers' Stephenson at Dyckman
By Jared Zwerling
Wednesday was the opening night of New York City's popular Dyckman streetball league, and the Knicks' Sixth Man Award winner J.R. Smith was in attendance.
J.R. Smith and his brother Chris took in some Big Apple hoops with Sharon Bond, Dyckman's VP of marketing and media.
Smith and his younger brother Chris watched from courtside as another standout player from the New York area took the court.
That was Brooklyn's finest and New York State's all-time leading scorer in high school basketball -- Lance Stephenson, who now plays for the Indiana Pacers. After taking in a few minutes of the headline game, he suited up midway through the first half and showcased his full-court speed with the ball.
Stephenson, whose streetball nickname is "Born Ready," had a few nice breakaway layups. But the crowd of around 1,000 didn't go wild until former New Jersey Net Sundiata Gaines, who's from Queens, showed Stephenson up on back-to-back 3-pointers. Fans started rushing the court, and the game had to be stopped for a few minutes.
Smith and Stephenson, who competed against each other in the Eastern Conference semifinals, shared the same sideline during the game. They exchanged a few words but didn't pal around -- even during halftime. When J.R. was mobbed by dozens of fans, Stephenson was in another area of the court.
In the end, Made Off Movement, led by Gaines and former Christ the King High School star Erving Walker, who went on to play at Florida, beat Stephenson's Skullgang squad 73-67.
Chris Smith told ESPNNewYork.com that J.R. won't be able to play in streetball league games, which he likes to do every summer, until he "decides where he's going in free agency and after NBA summer league," which is in mid-July.
On Monday night at Dyckman, the Knicks, who are a league sponsor, will have a special team night. Several players and the Knicks City Dancers will be at the streetball court, which is located at 204th Street and Nagle Avenue.