Should NBA players compete in pro-am leagues?


Image provided.

James and DeRozan teaming up in the 2022 Drew League.

Jamison Joyce, Staff Writer

This summer many National Basketball Association(NBA) players have spent their off season competing in pro-am leagues. Pro-am leagues are organized sports leagues where both professional and amateur players play against and alongside each other. NBA players such as Jayson Tatum, DeMar DeRozan, Dejounte Murray and more have all competed in pro-am games during the 2022 NBA off season. These games provide action-packed experiences for fans during the off-season and give the players a way to work on their game. However, pro-ams have become a controversial topic of conversation amongst NBA fans, analysts, and players both current and former.

Many fans on social media have begun to voice their opinions against NBA players being allowed to compete in these leagues due to their behavior during the games. Atlanta Hawks guard Murray has received criticism from fans who believe that he plays with poor sportsmanship due to his heated altercation with Orlando Magic rookie Paolo Banchero and believe his behavior is problematic. Murray has since come out in defense of his actions, chalking the altercation up to nothing more than competitive banter, and to stress the importance of competing in pro-am games as a NBA athlete.

“To all of my NBA brothers, if you love hooping, get out to these pro-ams. These kids who can’t afford to see us are able to for free, we are not too big for this,” Murray said.

Murray is not the only player to stress the importance of pro-am leagues. Former NBA champion and current TV analyst Kendrick Perkins is also an avid backer of pro-am basketball and their positive impacts on the community. Perkins recently gave a call to action directed at the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. 

“I think the NBA and Adam Silver should get behind it even more and help the people who are running the pro-ams to improve facilities and more,” Perkins said.

Many people feel that the NBA should ban players who are under contract with an NBA team from playing in pro-am leagues to prevent unfair matchups. In a recent game at the Drew league pro-am, Los Angeles Laker forward LeBron James had a spectacular game, scoring 42 points with 16 rebounds and four steals. This performance made it seem as if NBA athletes competing in pro-am games added an unfair edge against the amateur athletes that compete. However, these unreal performances are what the fans of these leagues come to see. Without NBA players to compete in pro-ams the fans lose this opportunity to interact with their favorite athletes and see them play.

Although NBA players competing in pro-am games have received their criticisms for creating proclaimed, problematic, unfair, and unsafe environments, these leagues actually provide a positive and entertaining opportunity for fans and the NBA community. 

Contact Jamison Joyce at [email protected]