Portland Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe threw down two alley-oop dunks while scoring 11 points Friday night to help lead the Gray team to a 36-33 win over the Black team during the annual Fan Fest at the Moda Center.
The Black Team, which started four true starters, Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic and Josh Hart, appeared to be the favorite. But Keon Johnson matched Sharpe with 11 points to help the Gray team build a lead that the Black team couldn’t eclipse.
Lillard and Simons both missed threes in the final 40 seconds that would have tied the game.
The highlight of the evening came after the game when the veterans had Sharpe and fellow rookie, Jabari Walker, sing and dance at half court.
The first song, “Let it Go,” didn’t go so well. Sharpe appeared completely disinterested while Walker gave a little effort and did his best during the chorus, which brought cheers from the fans.
“I just wanted to give the fans what they wanted,” Walker said.
Sharpe, not so much.
“I was telling him we were going to have to keep going if he didn’t sing,” Walker said.
Participating was also the requirement for the next event, dancing to “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus. Both Walker and Sharpe botched it up pretty good.
A displeased Lillard had the DJ start the song over and said the rookies would be there all night if they didn’t put forth a better effort.
That led to Walker delivering a few moves, including a nifty moonwalk. Sharpe wiggled a bit didn’t come truly come through.
“I’m not really a dancer or a singer,” Sharpe said. “So, it was out of character for me. But I had a lot of fun doing it.”
The Blazers were also gifted children’s backpacks by Nassir Little. They are required to use them all season just as Greg Brown III did last season.
“I don’t like the backpacks but I like Fan Fest,” Walker said.
When informed that Brown could be seen with his all season long and seemingly embraced it, a surprised Sharpe responded, “For real? That’s crazy.”
Yep. For real. Get used to the new accessory.
Despite the hazing, both rookies said the evening meant a lot to them.
“I thought it was fantastic,” Walker said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. This has to go down as one of the most memorable moments of my life. For sure.”
Said Sharpe: “Everybody was really in tune and very active,” Sharpe said of the fans, who were enthusiastic all evening. “I had a lot of fun doing it.”
SCORING BOX SCORE
Black Team: Jusuf Nurkic 11, Greg Brown III 7, Anfernee Simons 5, Jabari Walker 4, Josh Hart 3, Damian Lillard 3.
Gray Team: Shaedon Sharpe 11, Keon Johnson 11, Nassir Little 6, Justise Winslow 4, Drew Eubanks 4.