On Saturday, LeSean McCoy hosted a celebrity basketball game for his "Shades of Greatness" foundation, benefiting ALS research, in Aston. Among those in attendance were current Eagles Jeremy Maclin, Connor Barwin, Earl Wolff, and former Eagle DeSean Jackson.
"We're a good group," said McCoy. "I even got DeSean Jackson. You know what happened. Obviously, he's not an Eagle anymore, but the friendship and the bond is still there. He supports me in anything that I have, and vice versa. I do the same. I'm just happy to have him here. And all my teammates, I (could) name them all day. They came out to support me. That's what it's all about. It starts off the field, bonding together, working as one to get what we really want, and that's a championship."
McCoy created his charity after his grandmother lost her battle with ALS. "A couple of years ago, she was diagnosed with ALS, and it slowly diminished her body," said McCoy. "The positive thing from that was what it did for my family and myself. I think sometimes when I face adversity I look back to how she fought and struggled with the disease that she had, the different symptoms it caused her. So there are times where I'm complaining about different things, where it's not as serious as the things she fought."
McCoy was recently voted the fifth best player in the NFL by his peers. McCoy questioned, "That's pretty low, right?" Many of the players who were interviewed about McCoy compared him to former Lions running back Barry Sanders. "That's a tough comparison," said McCoy. "You're talking about one of the best to ever do it. To be mentioned in that category is pretty cool, but to be realistic, I'm really far from Barry. I grew up loving Barry. I have more room for improvement that I have to work on before I even get close to that."
Notes from the event:
• McCoy on what he saw from Nick Foles in OTAs and minicamp: "Nick Foles is really taking that jump to really being a star... Just being confident. There's not a throw that he won't take. Last year he had a great (completion percentage), no interceptions, and that type of thing. And now, he's not thinking about that. He's smart with the ball and there are plays he knows he can make that he takes, where a new guy in the system will be like, 'Ah, there's a window, can I take it?' Well now, he's doing it. Now if we can get him to run the ball a little bit better, we'll be alright."
• DeSean hair update: DeSean Jackson tweeted last Thursday that he had a new hair style, which he was quite proud of. Feedback was mixed.
DeSean to his barber: "Make my head look like a ham, good sir." pic.twitter.com/le2GWdng8K— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) July 10, 2014
Unfortunately, DeSean had taken his twists out by Saturday. :(
• On the court, Jackson can hoop. He can pop threes, he was easily beating guys off his dribble with his quickness, he was predictably good in the open floor, and he played tough defense. The professional basketball player (Dion Waiters) who was there aside, DeSean was the best player on the court Saturday. He also wanted it more than anyone. He was hustling for loose balls, and was the only player arguing calls with officials (who basically weren't calling anything). DeSean's stats, according to DeSean:
• McCoy's game was rather disappointing. I expected more shake and bake from him, but he had trouble beating guys off the dribble and going to the basket. He was actually more effective as a spot-up jump-shooter. And somewhat predictably, he didn't play much defense. My NBA player comp for Shady -- Kyle Korver.
• Connor Barwin showed up at halftime, and according to Matt Breen of the Inquirer, he wasn't expected to play, but did when asked by McCoy. Even in jean shorts, Barwin dunked on somebody.
• Drew "Next Question" Rosenhaus was in attendance. Here's Drew trying to convince a celebrity to hold out for more money before he'll play in the charity game.
Rosenhaus and Jackson of course have an ongoing dispute over money that Rosenhaus gave Jackson. An arbitrator ruled in April that Jackson owes Rosenhaus over $500,000 in loans and fees. Jackson contends that Rosenhaus bribed him with cash so that he would become Rosenhaus' client, and therefore he should owe him nothing. My guess is that it was just a misunderstanding between two perfectly ethical, upstanding gentlemen. Whatever the case, Rosenhaus and Jackson didn't seem to want to get anywhere near each other.
• Safety Earl Wolff was in attendance, although he did not play. Wolff said he had a goal of six interceptions this season. He also echoed McCoy's sentiment that the guys on the team are a very tight group.
“It’s kind of crazy how close we are," said Wolff. "It’s like a brotherhood, like we’re all really, really close. For example, guys like (free agent safety) Chris Maragos… He came from Seattle. He said (the Seahawks) were pretty close, but he’s never seen guys that are as tight knit as we are. We’re all like brothers. I feel like Coach Kelly and the coaches do a good job keeping us together.”
• Jeremy Maclin was also in attendance. Maclin thinks that in some ways, he's in better physical condition than he was before he tore his ACL. "In some ways, I feel faster," Maclin said. "In some ways I feel more fresh, more physically strong. I just think you put so much hard work into your rehab process that that's kind of what happens. You get that leg back. You build that leg back stronger. So like I said, I'm really looking forward to this year."
Here are McCoy, Maclin and Jackson talking at halftime.
Shady, Maclin and DeSean: pic.twitter.com/FbsiUoSM70— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) July 12, 2014
And finally, here's LeSean McCoy trucking DeSean Jackson.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski