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What’s An NBA D-League Tryout Like? Go Behind the Scenes

By Brian Kotloff | October 4, 2016

The open team tryout schedule is a fixture on the NBA D-League calendar, attended by pro-level players and pickup regulars alike. This year as much as ever, another group of participants entered the mix: media.

From Long Island to Sacramento and even up north to Toronto, professional reporters and digital producers took their shot at professional basketball for a day.

Raptors 905: Toronto, Canada

From the Raptors’ digital team:

Texas Legends: Plano, Texas

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From starlocalmedia.com’s Matt Welch:

Although in the end, it ultimately meant being cut from a basketball team for the first time in my life, Saturday was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Not just relishing an opportunity to test my body’s physical boundaries, but to come away with the satisfaction of feeling like I wasn’t out of place playing alongside likely the highest-quality competition that I’ll ever share the hardwood with.

And at the very least, I can always say that I tried out for a professional basketball team.

From the Texas Legends:

Long Island Nets: Long Island, N.Y.

From the New York Times:

Amid a predictable fare of drills and full-court scrimmages, it quickly became clear that some players had better odds than others of landing one of those precious camp invitations. Langdon, once a first-round N.B.A. draftchoice who played in the N.B.A. and in Russia, identified one candidate with a unique background: Smush Parker, a former guard with the Lakers who has spent recent years circling the globe on a basketball odyssey.

“I wanted to see the world,” Parker said.

Parker, 35, most recently played for teams in Tunisia and Morocco. When he renewed his passport, the government sent him one with extra pages. But he now calls Brooklyn home — “I’m a five-minute bike ride from Barclays Center,” he said — and learned of the D-League tryout from his pastor, a big fan of the Brooklyn Nets. “I’m here on his blessings,” Parker said.

Reno Bighorns: Sacramento, Ca.

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From the Sacramento Kings:

Over 100 NBA D-League hopefuls convened in Sacramento on Sunday afternoon in an attempt to earn an invitation to the Reno Bighorns 2016-17 opening night roster. Amongst the open tryout participants were players with various skill levels, ages and backgrounds, including: ex D-League players, former Division 1 college athletes, current professionals playing overseas, local hoopers looking for a shot, and a Kings.com writer.

As a 5’11” pass-first point guard whose game hasn’t progressed past the confines of Sacramento men’s leagues and California Family Fitness locations, stepping on the court alongside talented individuals who have played at some of the game’s highest levels was intimidating.

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