Los Angeles played host to Red Bull Midnight Run on Wednesday, August 14, and the players that showed up proved that L.A. has much more than just acting talent. The skill and energy level on display in L.A. put them among the front-runners for the finals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this fall.
Another thing that stood out among the L.A. crew is their familiarity with each other. From the moment they arrived at the Los Angeles Clippers practice facility, it was clear that a lot of guys already knew each other.
“There are so many leagues out here in L.A. that you see a lot of the same faces,” said Robert Valentine, an L.A. native who just finished his first year playing overseas in England. “There are different leagues all over the city, so if you play the game at a high level like this you run into the same people often.”
The consistent California sunshine is something that ballplayers take full advantage of on the West Coast. While players in New York, Philly, Chicago, D.C., and other East Coast cities are limited to basically one season of outdoor hoops, the L.A. players are fortunate enough to be able to play in the spring, summer, fall and winter.
“Other cities don’t get to play outdoors year round like we do,” said Valentine. “I think that plays a big role in what separates our game from other cities.”
Not only does weather play a role in allowing players to work on their game 365 days a year, but it also allows the L.A. players to build up superior endurance in warm conditions. The energy in the building during the Red Bull Midnight Run was off the charts from start to finish. Guys had just as much energy at the end of the night as they did when they entered the gym. After the games were finished, the dunk contest began and eventually the players had to be kicked out of the gym.
Over the course of the night, it became obvious the L.A. players can run and gun. The games were played fast and furious and were filled with highlight fast-break dunks. Typically in Midnight Run events, when it gets later in the evening, defense begins to slip and the games get a bit sloppy. However in L.A., guys were playing harder toward the end of the night, noticing that time was running short. The defensive intensity increased and it seemed as if the players wanted to head to the next gym after the Run was over.
The L.A. players had an unmatched level of energy and intensity that we haven’t seen yet. They played hard all night and that spoke volumes about what they can accomplish at the Finals this fall. While teams from other cities get tired, these L.A. guys are going to keep going, and maybe playing in that hot California sun all the time has something to do with that.
What do you think?
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