CC Sabathia took two Ls Thursday—on his 36th birthday of all days. The first one he’ll get over (maybe). The second one he’s never going to live down.
After the Orioles snapped the Yankees four-game winning streak at the Stadium, the lefty made his way to Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for an evening of basketball. The occasion was the second Roc Nation Summer Classic Charity Basketball Tournament and the goal was to win. Especially after coming up short two years ago and never hearing the end of it.
It was Robinson Cano, Sabathia’s former teammate and current Seattle Mariners second baseman, whose team took the title the first time around. And for the second straight time, Cano’s crew smoked Sabathia’s squad, sending the southpaw home without a trophy and, most importantly, bragging rights. If you thought the pals would turn down an opportunity to talk trash over meaningless basketball games, you need get your mind right.
“He’s been killing me,” Sabathia said courtside. “I’ve got to listen to him for the next f****** year or two, killing me.”
Grown men and little kids alike were shouting out Khaled’s name all night long, trying to get his attention. Mostly the affable Khaled—his wrist was so blinged out he should have warned people not to stare directly at it—did what Khaled does: Snapchatting.
Of course Sabathia said it with a smile since the tournament was held in the name of charity. Thousands of friends, family, supporters, and teens came out for an evening of basketball to benefit Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation, Cano’s RC22 Foundation, boxer Miguel Cotto’s Fundacion El Angel, and artist Nick Jonas’ Beyond Type 1 charity. Each star captained his own diverse squad.
The celebrity affair took over the Brooklyn arena and featured a who’s who of sports and entertainment personalities either balling, stuntin', or conversing courtside. They were on hand to help raise as many funds as possible to help rehabilitate dilapidated baseball fields, like Sabathia’s foundation does, or build a school in an impoverished Dominican Republic town, like Cano’s foundation did.
Alex Rodriguez sat next to teammate Dellin Betances while periodically chopping it up with Victor Cruz, Fat Joe, and Michael Rapaport. A number of Cano’s Mariners teammates—like Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez—enjoyed an off-day before jetting to Toronto. Jadakiss suited up and played for Team Jonas. Terrell Owens laced them up for Team Cano. Angie Martinez served as M.C. along with guest host Jay Williams, the ESPN college basketball analyst. DJ Khaled—arguably the most popular man in the building—served as the game’s commissioner.
Grown men and little kids alike were shouting out Khaled’s name all night long, trying to get his attention. Mostly the affable Khaled—his wrist was so blinged out he should have warned people not to stare directly at it—did what Khaled does: Snapchatting. In between the occasional basketball commentary, Khaled’s helpers would hand him extra batteries to keep his phone humming and the content churning. The only time his hands weren't on his phone, they were on a basketball, launching 3-pointers between games.
A video posted by DJ KHALED (@djkhaled) on Jul 21, 2016 at 7:54pm PDT
As for the actual game? Entertaining, sometimes breathtaking, but mostly forgettable. The dunk contest did draw some oohs and ahhs. The streetballers who littered all four rosters took the opportunity to ball on an NBA floor seriously while others tried to blend in without embarrassing themselves. T.O. perhaps had the most memorable evening on the court, taking a ton of jumpers while getting mercilessly heckled by different pockets of fans. After missing a few dunks and layups in the championship game, one boisterous section of Team Cano supporters yelled at the coach to bench T.O. Cano looked at them and just laughed.
“The main thing is I appreciate all these people who showed up and been helping us to make this possible,” Cano said at the end of the night.
After the final buzzer sounded and Cano made a beeline to the scorer’s table to hoist the championship trophy, he was mobbed by his teammates and a ton of little kids begging for a selfie. Another Classic, another trophy. Just like a basketball shot by T.O., there was no way Cano could be knocked down. He helped make money for his charity and earned the right to talk all the trash when he sees Sabathia and the Yankees in Seattle next month.
“Oh hell yeah, he knows when I see him [I’m going to give it to him],” he said.