Wolves’ Beasley hosts charity event

The lockout has put a hold to NBA games, but hasn’t halted basketball.

NAME goes up for a basket during a charity game hosted by Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley Friday evening at Osseo Senior High School.  The event featured several NBA players currently locked-out of the professional season.

Mark Vancleave

NAME goes up for a basket during a charity game hosted by Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley Friday evening at Osseo Senior High School. The event featured several NBA players currently locked-out of the professional season.

Samuel Gordon

In the midst of an arduous lockout, NBA basketball was back in the Twin Cities, at least for a night.
Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the âÄúMichael Beasley All-Star ClassicâÄù Friday night at Osseo High School.
Beasley, along with some of his friends, played the game to raise money for various charities and attempted to rectify his own image in the process.
âÄúThe lockout has been very frustrating for the players, the coaches, the owners, but mainly the fans,âÄù Beasley said. âÄúI feel like basketball is kind of a getaway for a lot of people and they really canâÄôt get away right now. I felt like its only right to bring back basketball to Minnesota.âÄù
Beasley recruited NBA teammates Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Randolph, Wayne Ellington, Lazar Hayward and Wesley Johnson. Dorell Wright of the Golden State Warriors participated as well.
Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was a celebrity coach.
âÄúJust to come out and be a part of this is special,âÄù Peterson said. âÄúI know it means a lot for me to be here with Michael Beasley just to show my support.âÄù
NBA stars Kevin Durant, Kevin Love and John Wall were originally scheduled to participate in the event, but withdrew earlier in the week because of scheduling conflicts.
The game was comprised of long three point attempts, flashy dunks and little to no defense.  BeasleyâÄôs team defeated WrightâÄôs team 179-170 in front of roughly 600 to 700 fans.
All proceeds from FridayâÄôs event went to charities such as St. JudeâÄôs ChildrenâÄôs Hospital and PetersonâÄôs All Day Foundation, according to a press release at the event.
NBA players have been taking part in charity games all over the country in wake of the lockout.
The players and owners engaged in a series of meetings late last week, but have failed to make any significant progress in resolving their labor dispute.
Tolliver, the TimberwolvesâÄô union representative, reaffirmed claims that owners offered the players an ultimatum of a 50-50 revenue split and told the players to âÄútake it or leave it.âÄù
âÄúTheyâÄôre trying to bully us and I canâÄôt respect that,âÄù he said. âÄúHopefully both sides realize that thereâÄôs too much money to be lost just by sitting around. WeâÄôve got to get back on the court. Owners have to put people back in those seats in order for everybody to win.
âÄúWe realize what weâÄôre sitting out for right now, we just want a fair deal âĦ IâÄôm behind the union. IâÄôm pretty sure everybody that IâÄôve talked to thatâÄôs in the NBA is behind the union as well.âÄù
Beasley said heâÄôs still optimistic about a 2011-12 NBA season taking place, despite the fact that little progress has been made.
âÄúIâÄôm still positive. I still know in my heart that theyâÄôll come to common grounds pretty soon,âÄù he said.
In the meantime, Beasley and his NBA peers will have to get by with playing exhibitions similar to the one he hosted Friday night.
âÄúI think that players are doing a really good job of getting out in front of fans and continuing to show that we really just want to play basketball,âÄù Tolliver said.
âÄúWhether or not we have to put it together ourselves, play pickup games, do charity events or paid events, whatever it is, we just want to play basketball.âÄù