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With no end in sight to the NBA lockout, Sacramento Kings forward Donte Greene gave Kings and NBA fans something to cheer about on Sunday evening at the Pavilion at UC Davis as he hosted the Goon Squad Classic.
Greene came up with the name because him and fellow teammates Jason Thompson and Pooh Jeter are known as the “Goon Squad,” as they jump up and down before Kings games to help pump up the crowd.
Since there has not been a labor agreement between the players and the owners of the NBA, Greene decided to host the Goon Squad Classic, a charity game that benefited numerous charities both locally and nationally.
It was the first time that the Sacramento region had seen professional basketball since the Kings played their last game in April, which left fans in fear that their team would be heading down south to Anaheim.
Greene’s main goal when putting together the exhibition game was to give Sacramento basketball fans something to cheer about again, along with making money for a good cause. In association with Greene, the Circle of Success Foundation helped organize the game, along with fellow Sacramento King Jason Thompson.
Although stars such as Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant was not able to make it, and Washington Wizard John Wall was unable to play, the game featured many stars and solid lineups on both teams.
Greene was featured on the black squad, featuring players such as 76er’s big man and former King Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette.
This exhibition game marked the first time Kings fans were able to see their new rookie and 10th overall pick Fredette play in front of the hometown crowd, and he didn’t disappoint. Seemingly every time after he dribbled the ball over half court, the crowd shouted at him in an attempt to show off his “Jimmer range.” The rookie appeased the hometown crowd, draining numerous shots from well behind the three-point arc.
The purple team featured Kings Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, rookie Isaiah Thomas and Los Angeles Laker Matt Barnes, who was greeted to an uproar of boos when he was introduced.
As expected, the exhibition game featured little defense but was a showcase of the players athleticism, featuring numerous alley-oops and long-distance threes that continued to draw “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd.
But Greene did not just give the fans an opportunity to watch basketball again — he also gave the crowd numerous free shirts, with players available for autographs after the game. Greene also took the three different pairs of shoes he wore during the game, signed them and also threw those into the crowd.
Following little defense, the game ended with Greene’s team on top 167-164 as Tyreke Evans failed to make a desperation three-point attempt that would have tied the game at the end of the first regulation.
In addition to benefiting the Circle of Success Foundation, a portion of the proceeds also benefited the Save Ourselves Foundation for Breast Cancer, Sacramento Food and Clothing Bank, Crocker Riverside 4th R and Shriners Hospital for Children.