New York Knicks #25 C.J. Leslie heads to the basket past New Orleans #40 Jon Brockman. (Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
With 11 days of basketball, 61 games played and 21 NBA teams competing, the NBA Summer League is back!
The annual summer showcase is the opportunity for draft picks and unknown free agents to try and prove themselves to a team.
Cheyenne High School graduate Elijah Johnson is one of five players with local ties participating in the league.
Running with the Los Angeles Clippers is fulfilling a dream for Johnson.
"They think I can guard, so I'm gonna try to guard. I'm gonna do anything they ask, make shots, apply pressure, run in transition," said Johnson after his first game Friday.
For a majority of these players, though, reaching an opening day NBA roster is a long shot.
"If we think we're gonna find our guys here, I'm gonna be in trouble, I do know that," said Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni. "They need to round out the roster and hopefully contribute something."
If you attend as a fan, what you are sure to see is plenty of superstars, former and current.
Current Clippers Chris Paul and Blake Griffin drew a big crowd, after the pair entered the Cox Pavilion.
"Just support these guys," Griffin said as to why he's attending. "They've been in L. A., working hard, so we wanted to come out and support them for the first game and take care of some business. You run into a lot of people you know. It's kinda like a reunion."
Other locals participating are former Runnin' Rebels Anthony Marshall (Miami Heat) and Chace Stanback (Denver Nuggets), Bishop Gorman graduate and 14th NBA Draft pick Shabazz Muhammad (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Desert pines graduate Pierre Jackson (New Orleans Pelicans).
Tickets are $25 dollars for general admission per session.
The championship game of the Vegas Summer League will take place July 22.
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