The TRUTH About Sitting Courtside At One Of Those Insane NBA Pickup Games

battle for i95

Photo: Tony Manfred

The NBA summer streetball spectacle came to Philly last night.LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo led the Baltimore-based Team Melo against Tyreke Evans and Team Philly is what was billed as The Battle of I-95.

All summer long we’ve seen ridiculous YouTube highlights from these games.

But what’s it like to be there when these NBA superstars are going off? Are these games as wild as the highlights imply?

We were in the building last night. And the truth is, these games are electric, the players are loose, and the overall experience is way better to that of an average NBA game.

It's the Battle of I-95 between Team Philly and Team Melo. The setting: the historic Palestra in the University City neighbourhood of West Philadelphia

The Palestra sits smack dab in the middle of the University of Pennsylvania campus

The arena will be sold out by gametime, but it's pretty sparse an hour before the 6 p.m. tip-off

We don't know who made these teams, but they hardly seem fair

Jeez, that's a lot of journos for a pickup game

NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter took some time out of his lockout negotiations to take in the game

The players like Powerade from the looks of it. Wonder if those Vitamin Waters are for Lebron (he's a spokeman)

Oh hey! Just a reminder that we're still at UPenn

Team Philly comes out to warm up. But word spreads that LeBron and Melo are going to be late because they were at the Eagles game

Never fear, an adorable little kid entertains us while we wait for the All-Stars to show up

He takes a shot

And slams it home, with a little help from Donte Greene

Donte went with the gawdy kicks, while the little fella kept it subtle with the grey Nikes

Finally, The Chosen 1 emerges

Melo and Chris Paul are here too. But no Durant

We get within inches after using our journalistic prowess to sit along the baseline

The lineups are announced, and LeBron is loudly booed. This is Philly, after all

It's packed as the game gets set to begin. 8,700 fans for an exhibition

Let's take a look at the celebs around the building. First, it's LaLa, Carmelo's quasi-famous wife

There's some Basketball Wives-looking women. The one on the left gets interviewed later in the game, so she most be famous

That shadowy figure is Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson. It's a bold move to come to the game after a loss, but the crowd goes nuts for him

Finally, the game begins 45 minutes after the scheduled start time

We're darn close, and in prime position to get hit in the face by bouncing balls

Early in the game, this ref is the star. He shimmys and shakes everytime he makes a call. Fun times

Chris Paul doesn't think the ref is as funny as we think. He gets in his grill after a few questionable calls

Boom! Hakim Warrick gets the first monster dunk for Philly

LeBron's electric-blue shoes are mesmerizing

But Philly's Lou Williams blows him out of the water with these red, white, and blue new-school Converses

Holy crap, LeBron is huge and ripped

Philly leads at halftime despite being the underdog on paper, the crowd loves it

Here's the coach of team Philly. Obviously a genius since Tyreke Evans and Kyle Lowry are his best players

But Team Melo comes out strong in the second, with CP3 at the helm

LeBron notches a few third-quarter jams. He ends up with 43 points

Team Melo takes the lead early in the fourth

Funny moment during the fourth quarter. Some guy starts heckling LeBron during a free throw, and The King starts talking to him

On the court, Philly starts to pull away as Tyreke Evans throws down a sick crossover to seal it

The decidedly pro-Philly crowd gives it up

Philly wins. Overall, a really cool experience. The players were having fun and showing personality, but they weren't goofing around to the point that the game was a joke

How's it come with a complete different sports experience?

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.