You know about the Drew League. You know about the Goodman League. You probably know about the Greater NC Pro-Am, too. But what about the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro-Am? You know, the summer league tucked in the most northwest portion of the United States, in the city that recently lost its NBA team? Yeah, that one. So far this summer, Crawford’s Pro-Am in Seattle is drawing enough NBA talent to rival other more famed summer leagues.
The region’s talent-rich pool has brought out the likes of locals in Crawford, Nate Robinson, Terrence Williams, Aaron Brooks, Rodney Stuckey, Spencer Hawes, Isaiah Thomas, and Brandon Roy, who isn’t playing this year because of injury but is usually a regular. Even John Wall has showed up and played. The league may be under-the-radar, but it’s making more noise as more players turn up and put on a show for the Seattle fans without an NBA team.
“It definitely fills the void for a lot of people that like high-level basketball,” says Rashaad Powell, coordinator of the league. “Anything to just give the Seattle community that dose of basketball that they want and are longing for is a plus.”
When the Sonics left Seattle in 2008, they left behind a community that would have to move on without a basketball team. The closest thing to high-level men’s basketball is the University of Washington, but since that’s a college team, the Pro-Am offers perhaps the closest thing to the NBA.
There’s always been a Seattle summer Pro-Am, says Powell, and Crawford’s been sponsoring one for at least five years. It’s a league like Crawford’s that gives fans the closest thing to professional basketball in Washington.
With NBA, international, D-League, and college players playing in the league under NBA rules, the games provide a taste of the NBA for those fans yearning for a team.
“I think what happened,” says Powell, “is the Seattle community, they didn’t really appreciate the Sonics until they were gone – which is the way it generally happens. You don’t miss something until you don’t have it anymore.”
Right now, this is what Seattle does have: the Crawford-sponsored Pro-Am. The league features six teams and has been operating all summer out of the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club. It will continue deep into August depending on the status of the lockout, and games run Saturday and Sunday afternoons.