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Ball Don't Lie

Michael Beasley’s charity game lost key players, went very poorly

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Enigmatic forward Michael Beasley has a not-undeserved reputation as a bit loopy, the sort of guy who's as likely to drop 25 points with ease as he is to check out of a game mentally and allow his team to lose comfortably. There's still hope that he can become a consistent contributor to a winning team, though, so every time he makes a move towards maturity it can be considered a positive.

Beasley's scheduled star-studded charity game was supposed to be one of those steps in the right direction. Instead, it went off this weekend about as poorly as it could have. From Jerry Zgoda for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via EOB):

Billed as the "Michael Beasley All-Star Classic," the evening instead became something more like "Michael Beasley, Friends and Acquaintances." Organizers promoted the appearance of NBA stars Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, but Beasley's Wolves teammates Wes Johnson, Anthony Randolph, Anthony Tolliver, Wayne Ellington, Lazar Hayward and lone other NBA player Dorell Wright showed in support instead. [...]

Organizers originally priced tickets at between $60 and $300, then changed them to $40 general admission, $100 for VIP reserve and $300 for court seats when it became clear Durant, Love, Wall and No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams wouldn't play.

Net proceeds will go to St. Jude's and three Twin Cities area charities.

Organizers estimated the audience at 1,200 fans, which might have been a bit generous. Those fans watched the six Wolves players, Golden State's Wright, former WNBA player Tamara Moore and a smattering of summer-league players run and shoot until the Beasleys prevailed over the Visitors 179-170.

Given the apparent turnout and changes in price, let's hope the four charities end up with a decent haul. I'm not terribly optimistic, but that's never been a reason to lose hope.

Beasley's heart was in the right place with this charity game, and that's probably enough to put him in the good guy camp for at least a few months. But the fact that the event went so poorly in so many ways -- from exorbitant prices to high-profile no-shows -- doesn't bode well for Beasley's business acumen. Which, while it has little to do with emotional maturity, does suggest that Beasley has a long way to go before people stop treating him like a trusted veteran.

On a more general note, the difficulty of pinning down participants and logistics for the game should serve as a reminder that any ideas for a union-sanctioned professional basketball league depends on far more than just having players on board with the idea. Venues, cost structures, and commitments all take a long time to figure out. The NBA needs its players to survive, but the players need the league's infrastructure to earn the salaries they now believe they deserve. It's more of a give-and-take relationship than either side seems willing to admit.

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