So today is the first day in at least a decade that ESPN Zone in Times Square is shuttered, in addition to five others. Fan reactions differ on the closing. Personally, I’m not particularly going to miss it – I don’t eat hamburgers, particularly 12 dollar ones – though it will be strange to pass through Times Square and not see it. Others have a more nostalgic view and will be remiss to see it gone.
Tat said, I do have one favorite moment when I think of ESPN Zone, which I’ve alluded to briefly, and it shows just how different things are a decade later.
Floyd Mayweather’s systematic destruction of Shane Mosley on Saturday night wasn’t the most exciting fight, as per usual. But it was a rare chance to see an athlete at the absolute top of his craft, and one who knows perfectly how to market himself at the same time.
It’s not often you can witness your dreams, aspirations and accomplishments unfold right in front of you. But that was the case for Jay Williams on Tuesday night, as his Rising Stars gala dinner and charity auction at the New York Athletic Club manifested his vision in living color.
Here are some quick thoughts on some of the players that stood out to me at the Jordan Classic this year.
Kyrie Irving, Duke: What can I say that I haven’t said this year? Jay Williams said Irving was a combination of himself and Chris Duhon and that sounds about right. So creative, so smooth in transition, with a feathery jumper. He completely took over the game and the crowd in the final three minutes, when nobody could stop him going coast to coast. He’s the total package, and when Mike Kryzewski gets him playing that hard man-to-man defense, you’re looking at a future Chris Paul in the making.
To say things aren’t going well for Tiger Woods at the moment is an understatement, and yet he has to know deep down that it’s going to work out in the long run. And let’s face it, you and I know the same exact thing.
Note: We took a lot of photos at the 2010 Primetime Shootout, which turned out to be a terrific event with two indisputably classic games. Here are some of our favorites that weren’t used in the articles I wrote about it:
Kyrie Irving, warming up for the second half against Oak Hill on Friday night.
After watching national prep school powerhouse Oak Hill edge star-studded St. Patrick on Friday night by one point, I figured I had seen the premier game of the Primetime Shootout.
As it turned out, I was in for a real surprise on Saturday – as was Oak Hill, which learned two lessons: Never take anything for granted, and never draw blood from St. Peter’s Prep star guard Myles Davis.
Talk about a lousy day. After St. Patrick’s (No. 6, ESPN Rise) was banned from the New Jersey state tournament earlier in the day because coach Kevin Boyle attended practices before he was technically allowed to, they lost an absolute heartbreaker, 79-78, to No. 7 Oak Hill when gritty shooting guard Derrick Gordon missed a pair of foul shots with .4 seconds left.
I go to high school games to catch a glimpse of the future, to see future college and pro stars develop before my eyes. And with a matchup of two future stud point guards, I lucked into a special game on Saturday night.
The Dunn Center at Elizabeth High School was packed to the rafters to see St. Patrick (No. 3 in the nation) face off with St. Benedict’s (No. 10). Besides the elite coaches involved – Kevin Boyle and Danny Hurley, two guys who could find themselves in the college ranks before too long – the marquee matchup was at the point, where Duke-bound Kyrie Irving of St. Pat’s faced off with St. Benedict’s junior Myck Kabongo, who is heading to Texas.
After watching Duke lose to Georgia Tech on Saturday, I felt like envisioning better times ahead, so I headed to Kean University to watch future Duke star Kyrie Irving and No. 1 nationally ranked St. Patrick vs. Westfield. It was also great to see Michael Gilchrist up and about after a scary knee injury on Tuesday. Here are my observations: