Despite the lockout keeping NBA games from happening, players of the Utah Jazz and other NBA stars participated in a basketball game for charity Monday night.
The Utah Jazz, lead by draft pick Alec Burk who had 27 points, beat the team of other NBA players 144-124.
Former BYU basketball player Jimmer Fredette said he enjoyed playing in an atmosphere that was not overly competitive.
“It was fun,” Fredette said. “It’s a different brand of basketball when you are playing like this. It’s for the fans and not as competitive but a lot of high-flying plays.”
Fredette scored 18 points, which he recognized was not one of his best performances.
“I didn’t shoot the ball great,” Fredette said. “I had a few good shots but this was a free for all game and I am ready to get the real thing started.”
All of the profits from this game went to charities, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics. Members from these charities were present at the game and were able to meet the players before the game. During halftime, members of the Special Olympics basketball team played a game and were cheered on by the NBA players.
Burk liked that the game was not focused on playing basketball but that it was about helping others.
“This game was for charity,” Burk said. “We had a chance to come and play and raise money for some great charities.”
With the current lockout, players were excited to get out on the court again and play.
“It’s real hard not playing,” Jazz forward Derrick Favors said. “Sometimes it gets boring but then we participate in pick-up games and games like this which makes it better.”
Fredette said he hopes he will have the chance to start playing regular games sooner rather than later.
“It’s frustrating for everybody that’s involved,” he said, “and hopefully we will be able to get it started as quickly as we can.”
Fans agree with Fredette and even started chanting “End the lockout” at the end of the game to show their frustration.
This was the first time Jazz fans were able to see their draft picks Enes Kanter and Burk. Unfortunately in the first quarter, Kanter took an elbow to his face, lost his tooth and was out for the rest of the game. Burk played the entire game and showed a promising career to fans.
Burk also impressed fellow Jazz teammate Al Jefferson.
“Alec put on a show,” Jefferson said. “I had never watched him play but he makes the baskets and it’s going to be real fun to play with him.”