San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair took part in a Pittsburgh Pro-Am League as his way to stay in game-shape in anticipation of the NBA lockout. In the game he played, Blair was a bit rusty but those who played with him noted just how physically imposing Blair can be writes Brad Everett of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I’ll just keep playing here. There’s no lockout here,” Blair said, with a smile.
“When I last spoke to him, he said, ‘Can I go out and get a couple of runs in?’ ” Giammarco said. “I said to him, ‘Why are you even asking me?’ He started playing in the leagues we run when he was in fourth grade. This will always be home for him.”
Blair was a bit rusty after an extended layoff — he said he had not played since the Spurs were eliminated from the playoffs in late April
Pitt’s prized freshman Khem Birch, who sports a wiry, 6-8 frame, called Blair the strongest opponent he has faced.
“I was scared to go up for rebounds because he kept on putting up his elbows and stuff,” said Birch. “He’s just so big.”
It’s that type of competition that the dozens of current and former college players will use to better their careers, including one with NBA aspirations such as Birch.
“To go up against him, I was like, ‘This is what I have to do to be in the NBA,’ ” Birch said. “I’m nowhere near his physicality. It makes me want to get in the weight room, so I can get that kind of physicality.”
As I wrote on Thursday, it’s great to see Blair being proactive in staying in basketball shape for who knows how long the lockout lasts? It’s also great that he’s a teaching tool for the young basketball players in the Pittsburgh community at the same time.