The San Francisco Pro-Am has allowed fans and families to watch NBA players compete for free every summer during the past 34 years. Golden State Warriors assistant coach Brian Scalabrine hopes to change NBA rules so he can play, too.
Scalabrine would like to play in the San Francisco Pro-Am next summer, but NBA rules state that coaches and front-office personnel cannot have contact with draft ineligible players. Draft ineligible players include participating college and high school players. It will be tough for Scalabrine to get the long-standing rule changed, but he plans to petition the NBA anyway, a league source said.
Scalabrine, like all Warriors assistant coaches, is not allowed to speak to the media.
"It would be good for the league to have someone like him," said Al Gordon, who is coach of San Francisco Pro-Am's Bay Pride. "The Pro-Am is not about people coming in trying to recruit. It's about the fans and family coming in getting to watch good basketball for free, up close and personal.
"It would be a bonus. I'd absolutely want him on my team."
The San Francisco Pro-Am's alumni list includes Gary Payton, Robert Parish, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Tim Hardaway, Damian Lillard, Jeremy Lin, Gilbert Arenas and Jason Richardson. Warriors guard Kent Bazemore played last summer.
Projected NBA draft prospects who played in the San Francisco Pro-Am in recent years include Arizona freshman Aaron Gordon, Oregon sophomore guard Dominic Artis, California freshman guard Jabari Bird and Oakland Bishop O'Dowd High School forward-center Ivan Rabb, Rivals.com's third-ranked player in the 2015 class.
San Francisco Pro-Am League Director Jon Greenberg said a current NBA coach or front office executive has never played before, but he would like Scalabrine to be the first. Scalabrine, 35, won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and also played for the New Jersey Nets and the Chicago Bulls. He joined the Warriors as an assistant coach this season.
"There are a lot of coaches locally who would love to play, but can't," Gordon said. "They are at the YMCA playing against lesser competition they aren't accustomed to playing against. You should be free to play a game that you love. You come with a gym bag and some tennis shoes, not a clipboard."