“That’s my biggest surprise coming in here. The one thing I was worried about is whether he would be able to step in after so much time (off). He looks, to me, as good as when we had him in the World Championship in ’10, when he was at full strength coming (into) an MVP year. He looks very, very good. Obviously, [when] he gets in some games it will be a little different, but it’s not like he hasn’t had success in games. He had a lot of success. He’s been the most impressive guy here.”
“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter. That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them instead of what’s best for everybody else. He’s a guy that did that. You gotta respect that. I applauded him, I texted him and told him congratulations on the decision and told him I was happy for him. As a fan of the game, it’s going to be pretty cool to see him back in Cleveland.”
At Rucker Park in New York, people sat on rooftops and climbed trees to watch Julius Erving play. In Louisville, Kentucky, Artis Gilmore would pull up in his fancy car, still wearing his fancy suits, and just ball. Kevin Durant first measured the worth of his game on the D.C. playgrounds, and Arthur Agee chased his hoop dream in Chicago. The Philadelphia outdoor courts once boasted a who’s who of the city’s best ballers, and in Los Angeles, playground legends with names such as Beast, Iron Man and Big Money Griff played on the same concrete as Magic and Kobe.
That was then, a then that wasn’t all that long ago.
Now? Now the courts are empty, the nets dangling by a thread. The crowds that used to stand four deep are gone, and so are the players. Once players asked “Who’s got next?” Now the question is “Anyone want to play?” And the answer seems to be no, at least not here, not outside.
Playground basketball, at least as we knew it, is dying.
“Playground Basketball Is Dying” via ESPN
“Even taking a little less money, this opportunity was too exciting to pass up. I’ve had a taste of the playoffs before, but being a part of this team will be just incredible. You get to a point where you really realize what’s important, and I was thinking: ‘What would my 12-year-old self have done? What would he prioritize?’ It was this opportunity and what they’re building with the Clippers.”
Spencer Hawes to Yahoo! Sports
“For me, I’ll always go with the best (available) talent. We did our due diligence. I went to Brazil three times to see him. Jeff (Weltman) went a couple of times. Our scouts went a few times to see him. We felt comfortable. A few days ago we took Coach Casey and we worked him out in Houston. Coach Casey and Jama (Mahlalela) worked him out and felt comfortable, too.
“I’m not here trying to be popular; that’s not what’s important to me. I’m trying to look out for the organization long-term and I think long-term we’ll look at Bruno (Caboclo) and say at least he has a chance (to be something special).”
Masai Ujiri Talking About Critics Who Claimed Bruno Caboclo Was A Reach