January 31st, 2013
As a tall individual one of the first questions people ask me, after inquiring my height, is if I play basketball. Sadly tall men are lumped into this category as if this is the only activity where tall men are accepted and can thrive. Now I did play a little overseas basketball and my Dad played professionally but it still does not mean we were any good. Even if we are tall and play the stereotypically accepted tall sport, basketball, we would still need to prove ourselves, but is it necessary to question the skill set of a longtime basketball professional while they are IN RETIREMENT?
Last week a story came out about a 11 year NBA Basketball professional named Brian Scalabrine (6 ft 9 in, 235 lbs) who played in a one-on-one challenge in Boston in order to prove to critics that he was worthy of his basketball prowess. Amazing that after a long and glorious professional career, an athlete still has to prove his worth after he leaves the game.
Brian was asked to play 4 straight one-on-one games against highly qualified basketball challengers that played in college. Brian handily beat each one to a combined final score of 44-6. The “Scallange” was put on by morning hosts Toucher & Rich from the 98.5 The Sports Hub and the event did not disappoint. The game was a vindication for the Tall Brian Scalabrine and for Tall people as well. Never doubt a Tall Master; you cannot fake the height or his game.
“Toucher & Rich’s ‘Scallenge’ No Challenge For Brian Scalabrine”, http://boston.cbslocal.com, Published on January 22, 2013.
BOSTON (CBS) – Sick of hearing that the average Joe could beat him out on the hardwood, Brian Scalabrine was on a mission.
And given the results of last week’s “Scallenge,” it was mission accomplished for the “White Mamba.”
Scalabrine, who retired over the summer after a very serviceable 11-year NBA career, took on four of Boston’s best ballers in 98.5 The Sports Hub’s 1-on-1 “Scallenge,” put on by morning hosts Toucher & Rich.
Listeners sent in their try-out videos, showing off their skills and talking some trash towards Scal, but it turns out even Boston’s best was no match for Scalabrine.
He said before the “Scallenge” it would be no challenge, and Scalabrine did not disappoint on that proclamation.
Scalabrine — who spent the last few seasons of his career seen as the “human victory cigar” — easily defeated all four of his opponents, throwing down monstrous jams and sinking smooth jumpers as he beat them all by a combined score of 44-6.
But Scal applauded his competitors for their effort.
“When you go into a game you have to realize that these guys can play,” Scal said of his opponents. “They’re strong, they’ve played against guys quicker than me, they’ve played against guys bigger than me, they’ve played against guys stronger than me.”
“I was expecting what I was expecting today,” he said. “The only thing I think they weren’t expecting was my size defensively; how good I can cover ground defensively.”
First up was Matt Tomaszewski, a Syracuse alum that spent time on Jim Boeheim’s bench last season. Though his resume was impressive, he was no match for Scalabrine. After Tomaszewski scored the competition’s first hoop with a nice floater, Scal took over. While it was as close as 7-3 after a nifty hook shot from Tomaszewski, Scal finished him off by attacking the basket, and walked away with his first victory of the day by a score of 11-3.
Scal had no problems with his next two opponents, Jake Fay of Lynn and Rich Morantus of Foxboro. Neither scored a point, as Scal posted back-to-back shutouts.
“It was fun playing against an NBA player; it was a once in a lifetime thing. It was fun,” said Fay. “I knew going into it that if he wanted to beat me he could beat me at any point, but, he was playing hard and it was tough.”
“It was pretty much what I expected,” said Morantus. “He was pretty quick, but I thought he’d be pretty quick — he had to guard NBA caliber guys. I just couldn’t hit a shot. I couldn’t make a shot for my life. I wasn’t expecting really to win, but I thought I’d make it a better game.”
Fatigue appeared to set in as Scal took on his last challenger, Jon Hazzard of Uxbridge. Hazzard took a 2-1 lead thanks to an early shot from downtown, but Scalabrine rattled off eight-straight thanks to a pair of deep 2’s and a few nice runners. After exchanging missed shots with Hazzard, Scal eventually came out on top 11-3, and finished the day a perfect 4-0 against his challengers.
“He’s quick defensively,” said Hazzard. “He’s long and his length really bothered me. Some of the shots I can usually get off I couldn’t get off. The ball just didn’t go my way. He hits some big threes, I had one rim out and that really changed the tone of the game.”
Just for good measure, Scalabrine also took on the Toucher & Rich trio of Fred Toucher, Rich Shertenlieb and Jon Wallach, though the three didn’t put up much of a fight given their power in numbers. Scalabrine made quick work of them 11-1, with the Sports Hub’s squads only bucket a layup by Wallach.
“I’m an out of shape bastard because after Scal crushed us 11-1 and I was rejected violently twice, I’m huffing like a bastard,” said Shertenlieb.
So in the end, it was the “White Mamba” standing taller than anyone else. He proved that, despite not being star in the NBA, he can still beat anyone that doesn’t think he has game on the court.
Link to the full article, video and pictures: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2013/01/22/toucher-richs-scallenge-no-challenge-for-brian-scalabrine/#.UQWbzBTL7iM.email
Brian Scalabrine photo courtesy of www.celticslife.com