Nike and Jordan Brand kicked off their Chicago pro-am league at Whitney Young High School on Saturday. To help ring it in the right way, the two brands enlisted the help of a Hall of Famer and two up-and-coming NBA superstars.
Scottie Pippen, Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were all on hand for the Chi-League and both Davis and Kidd-Gilchrist said that leagues like this remind them of when they participated in similar games on the AAU circuit not too long ago.
“I love and miss being part of something like this,” said Davis, representing Nike. “It was probably the best time of my life playing AAU and you miss it. But it’s great to come back and do something for the City of Chicago – where I’m from – it’s a blessing and I can’t wait to see things get started so people can see the awesome talent from Chicago that’s going to be playing on the court.”
“It was something new in the city and I wanted to be a part of it. That’s why I’m here,” said Jordan Brand representative Kidd-Gilchrist before acknowledging that his former Kentucky teammate was another reason he came to Chicago.
“Three years ago, I was one of those guys that nobody knew about. I wish I could’ve played in something like this,” Davis said. “I wish I could’ve gone to skill camps like they have for the younger guys to help them get better, or meet guys who are in the league like me and Mike, and have a chance to talk to them. I wish I was able to do stuff like that when I was younger. It would’ve motivated me even more and helped me achieve my dream of playing in the league.”
Said Pippen of the summer league, “I think it’s great. I think this is something that the city has long cried for and needed. It’s good to get involved with our youth and give them something to stay busy during the summer and bring basketball back as a whole.”
The Chi-League will have games at Whitney Young every Saturday and Sunday between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. and admission is free.
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