As the Team Melo received a shot in the arm on Monday night, Team Philadelphia is still without one of the area’s all-time basketball talents, Kobe Bryant. The game’s brain trust, Hakim Warrick, said calls have been put out to the Lower Merion product.
“I think he may have other obligations, but we’re definitely reaching out to him,” said Warrick, who has spent the majority of his summer in Philadelphia. “I know to have him there would be big for the city.”
Growing up in West Philly, Hakim Warrick lived in the shadows of the Palestra. But, the future national champion and first round draft pick never played an actual game at the Penn’s historic gym. He’ll finally get his chance on Sept. 25 when the Team Philly vs. Team Melo game rolls into town.
Now a forward with the Phoenix Suns, Warrick said he had no trouble finding players to take part in the game, as he quickly assembled a Team Philly roster of Marcus and Markieff Morris, John Salmons and Wayne Ellington among others. The Philadelphia roster is set, Warrick said, but the team has yet to appoint a coach.
“I didn’t have to sell it at all, it came to a point where I was hoping that some people would turn me down because we we’re getting too many people,” said Warrick. “It wasn’t a tough sell to go out there and play for your city. For a lot of these guys that grew up in the Philadelphia-area, basketball is a big thing, and you don’t want to get embarrassed.”
Although he’s from Georgia, Sixers guard Lou Williams has been included on the Team Philly roster. He was drafted by the Sixers as a teenager and has spent his six-year career in the city. Warrick said Williams has “done so much for the community” since being drafted that he deserved a spot on the roster. “He can be a step child if he wants to,” Warrick said.
Warrick received help setting up the game from Rahim Thompson, the founder of the Chosen League. Run out of North Philadelphia, the league is one of the city’s top summer basketball leagues for high school talent. Warrick was out of high school by the time the league was founded in 2002, but said he has been to games and helped sponsor it.
“Just knowing his track record and how the league has gotten better each year, I knew I could trust him [to set this game up],” Warrick said.
Warrick said the money raised from the game will be distributed among various charities, including the West Philadelphia Community Center, where Warrick played in his youth.
Contact staff writer Matt Breen at firstname.lastname@example.org or @matt_breen on Twitter.