Brendan Haywood recently dove into his 1997 McDonald’s All-American Game experience, and let’s just say, it was an event that he’ll never forget.
(via No Chill with Gilbert Arenas/Fubo Sports):
Josiah Johnson: “What are your favorite memories from that 1997 McDonald’s All-American Game and who was the actual top dog in that room full of alphas?”
Haywood: “The top dog as far as personalities, BD (Baron Davis), Baron & Ron Artest.”
Josiah Johnson: “East Coast, West Coast!”
Haywood: “Yeah, so it’s like, BD, who he is today, he was that back then. And so, I remember they told us, ‘Hey man, none of y’all go out. If you go out, we’re sending you home.’ Guys are like, ‘Man, we wanna go out and kick it before the game.’ Baron Davis, all West Coast, ‘Man forget that, man! Shoot, what they gon’ do if we all go out? They can’t not have a game.’ We were like, ‘Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.’ We following BD. So he’s like, ‘Yo, we all going out. We gon’ do it?’ We’re like, ‘Yeah BD, we that.’ So we on that, and he just led like the whole team to go out and kick it because he figured like, ‘Listen, if I can get everybody else or at least the majority of these guys to go, they can’t send us all home.’ And he was right.
“And as far as Ron goes, I don’t think that Ron knew it was an All-Star Game, because Ron only played one way. So, I’ll never forget, we come to the bench and Ron was like, you know you get to talking all fast, like, ‘Yo, son! I was out here playing all hard. I’m playing defense and everything, nobody can give me the ball, son! The next MFer to take a shot and don’t pass me the ball, getting snuffed out! That’s on everything, son!’ I was like, ‘Oh my God! He is crazy!’ They swung that thing to me boy, I damn near handed it to him. I didn’t wanna get snuffed out. He seems sincere. And so that was my Ron Artest moment. I’m like, ‘This dude just threatened everybody on our team in the middle of the game.’ The coaches looked around at us like, ‘Y’all handle him, man. We don’t know what to do.’ He’s like, ‘I’m from Queensbridge, son! We don’t play that!’ I’m like, ‘He sounds like he’s telling the truth, don’t wanna find out.’ They swung that thing to me, I’m like, ‘Ron take that thing real quick. Do him Ron!’ I ain’t want no problems.”