Goodman League Rumors
Basketball fans envision the epic battle and indefatigably debate its enigmatic outcome. NBA players, whom regularly play with both men, are no different. In one of a series of interviews at the Drew League vs. Goodman League rematch last month at Long Beach State, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said Bryant would win. “He’s probably the best one-on-one player in the game,” Durant said.
John Wall does not want the players union to back down on Monday when it engages in a last-ditch bargaining session with the NBA. After scoring 55 points in the Goodman League’s 151-144 loss to the Drew League at Long Beach State, Wall told Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk that he hoped the National Basketball Players Association would hold firm at accepting no less than 53 percent of basketball-related income. The players received 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous collective bargaining agreement but NBA commissioner David Stern has pushed for a 50-50 split of revenues for the players and the owners. Neither side has shown a willingness to budge much more, but Stern has pledged to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if the two sides cannot come to a resolution this afternoon.
Wall is still on his rookie deal, so whatever agreement the NBA strikes with the union would greatly affect how much money he makes in his first contract extension. “I’m a young person so I’m looking down the road to see what I can make and what I can do with it,” Wall said. The owners “tried to give us a 45 percent deal. It’s not even all about the percentages it’s about the system. . . . I know they were trying to talk 50/50 but 53 percent is where we’re going to stick at.”
Barnes said he talked to Lakers teammate and union President Derek Fisher on Sunday and was aware of the eleventh-hour meeting taking place in New York to avoid cancellation of NBA regular-season games. There will be more meetings Monday. “The situation we’re in, we’re not about to lock ourselves into something that takes precedence over the younger guys — the guys in high school, in college and the rookies,” said Barnes, who took the game seriously enough to be assessed a technical foul, as did Wall. “So we’ve got to leave them in good hands, just like the older players left us.”
By the way, the Drew League got the payback, winning 151-144, behind Harden’s 48 points. Durant, an All-Star with the Thunder, finished with 50 and Wall had 55. “I like playing in these games because it shows the fans how much we appreciate them and that we want to play games,” said Durant, who played in an exhibition game Saturday night in Miami. “But we want to play and not be locked out.”
They have been locked out by the NBA for 101 days and have been staging these games all over the country, this one Sunday in front of a packed house. “I love to play the game and they are taking that away from us,” Durant said about the NBA owners. “But we’re going to stick together as players. We’re not just going to take any deal.” The Drew League players wore T-shirts that read, “The Big Payback,” referring to having lost, 135-134, in August to the Goodman League, which wore T-shirts that read, “Basketball Never Stops.”