A South Florida Classic Shows What We’ve Been Missing

Have you ever been a part of something so good that once it’s over, it sucks? Like a summer vacation. Once it’s done, you want to just end it. Hate life. Hate that school is starting again. Or a night out with a dime? After that, everything else pales in comparison. You’re never satisfied. That’s what happened yesterday in Florida. Carmelo Anthony banged a trey with two seconds left in regulation to force overtime and from there, Team Wade finished off Team LeBron in the extra session, winning 141-140 even as James (game-high 34 points) hit a half-court shot at the game’s buzzer. The game showed us all what we’ve been missing. The lockout made us forget…the “South Florida All-Star Classic” reminded us. 4,000 fans packed the gym at FIU in what we dubbed “The Real NBA All-Star Game,” and the game didn’t disappoint. It had highlights, and even some defense (the first half was littered with fouls). Many of the guys who finished last season struggling through injuries (or sitting out) – like Rudy Gay, Caron Butler, Rajon Rondo and Amar’e Stoudemire – all looked ready to go. It was so good to see nine All-Stars out playing together, and yet now we’re back to reality: the lockout … If you haven’t had your share of lockout games yet, check out this tweet from Carmelo Anthony: BTW working on an #Epic exhibition/charity game in NYC……Showtime!!!!!! #NP “I’m Comin Home” … Union officials met with their players yesterday in both Los Angeles and Miami. The get-togethers weren’t so much to work on a proposal for the lockout but rather just to update players on what’s going on. As we told you in yesterday’s Smack, the scheduled meetings on Monday won’t be going down because the players refused to agree prematurely to a 50/50 split of the BRI. David Stern wanted to get something going again this weekend, but it’s possible nothing happens. The union is willing to meet about other topics today, but as far as having that all-important Monday meeting, a union source told Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski that “If the league wants to meet with us Monday, they’ll have to get their asses out to L.A.” … How much of the reaction from the public to this lockout is racially motivated? We’ve already tackled the situation, and found the backlash to be pretty overwhelming. But this article seems to think a lot of it is, and that the reactions have many of the players refusing to speak out (which is different from 1999 when many of the NBA’s biggest names were voicing their opinions) … Yi Jianlian just signed a contract to go home and play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers. That’s not at all surprising, especially considering the struggles he’s had in the NBA. The surprising thing is that he has an opt-out. Ummmmm… Wasn’t that part of the problem with players going over to China? No opt-outs? The Chinese Basketball Association had put in a rule to forbid players from coming over and bouncing immediately, but that CBA rule now only concerns foreign players … Of course, things are a little different for Kenyon Martin. He signed a deal for nearly $2.7 million with Xinjiang Gyang Hui and won’t be able to get out of it. Maybe he’ll be back for the NBA playoffs (if we even have playoffs). Maybe he won’t. Martin doesn’t care though, says he’s a grown man and can make his own decisions. So why’d he go ahead and do it? At his age (33), he just wants to play and knows there aren’t too many years left (especially with his injury problems). As for the Nuggets, forget ’em. Denver never offered him a contract extension – he definitely still seems aggravated and hurt by that – and now he’s laughing at them as half their team goes overseas … And Shannon Brown wants to not only play with a contender, but have a bigger role on the floor. Would you give him that? … RIP Al Davis … We’re out like the Texas Longhorns.

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