Friday, August 13, 2010
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul mum
NEW YORK -- First, Dwyane Wade blocked shots from elementary school kids. Then Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul swatted away questions about their NBA futures.
The three NBA stars were at Harlem's famed Rucker Park on Friday for a basketball clinic put on by Michael Jordan's shoe company. His Airness himself showed up, too, stressing the importance of extra effort.
Wade is set with the Miami Heat, united with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. Anthony can become a free agent next year and Paul the year after, but questions from reporters about their plans met the same fate as so many shots at Rucker Park -- rejected!
The closest any came to discussing something other than the clinic or the three $23,000 checks handed out to the Harlem Urban League, Harlem Boys and Girls Club and the Harlem YMCA was when each was asked about playing on the Rucker Park court.
The basketball playground is home to some of the game's most flamboyant moves and over the years has featured the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Connie Hawkins, Julius Erving, Earl Monroe and Nate Archibald.
"This is an experience -- to be here," Wade said. "And I hope that I can come back someday to watch some basketball."
Added Anthony: "I played at Rucker once and it was probably one of the best atmospheres I've ever been a part of. ... You got the crowd. Everybody know how good the crowd is out here."
When asked about a possible contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, Anthony cracked that he just signed a deal to play at Rucker for three years, then steered the subject back to the kids who went through 10 weeks of morning training.
When Paul was asked about maybe playing with Anthony somewhere down the line, New Orleans' star point guard just passed to 'Melo.
"Today we came here to do the breakfast club," Anthony said. "That was our main goal today: Come out here in the morning, hang with the kids. Donate some checks. Me and C.P. hooked up here this weekend, and we came here to do this breakfast club, so that's your answer."
There was also a scrimmage between teams from Puerto Rico and Brazil at Rucker Park, though it was a sloppy exhibition with missed dunks and easy layups.
"Playing in Rucker Park is something you don't get (to do) every day," said the Heat's Carlos Arroyo. "We were expecting them to play as hard. None of them were tape up, obviously they didn't play with their whole team, so you knew they weren't ready to play."
Nene and Tiago Splitter suited up but didn't play for Brazil.
"We just didn't give more energy and effort because we're a little bit scared to get hurt," said Leandra Barbosa. "You never know, anything can happen here. You know we got a bit tournament coming soon. We just decided to protect ourselves."
Both teams qualified for the world championships beginning Aug. 28 in Turkey.