Welcome to the series of pick-up games that gave birth to the legend of "Hoodie Melo."
While Carmelo Anthony's fabled offseason work last year proved fleeting, Black Ops Basketball, LLC wasn't just a mirage. The brainchild of high-profile NBA trainer Chris Brickley, the slew of summer scrimmages has become a star-studded session, with the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and, yes, Melo flat-out balling with their fellow basketball pros at the Life Time Athletic at Sky facility near Times Square in New York.
"I never thought it was going to get this big," Brickley told GQ in 2017. This year, Black Ops Basketball has turned into a stacked free-for-all, as familiar faces enlist in the biggest NBA offseason affair.
Carmelo Anthony (Houston Rockets)
It was time for Melo to ditch the hoodie and get back to his All-Star, bully ball, and, hopefully, winning ways. Or maybe not.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. (New York Knicks)
Despite coming off a career season, Hardaway will have to spend more hours in the gym if he hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father.
Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
After a slow start in the Summer League, the much-hyped rookie (No. 5
Enes Kanter (New York Knicks)
We're certain that playing with NBA superstars, such as James and Durant, is all part of the Knicks center's recruitment strategy.
JR Smith (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Perhaps this is the erratic shooting guard's way of taking his mind off and moving on from that career-defining Finals mental lapse.
Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors) and Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic)
High-flying Gordon learning the former Most Valuable Player and two-time champion's guard skills will be scary for the rest of the league.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
The 2017 MVP and 2016 Most Improved Player are making damn sure that they won't suffer the same fate (first-round exit) this year.
LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
This is what Philly will be missing after being unable to convince the King to join the Fresh Prince. And Simmons still has to develop his shot.