Friday, August 3, 2012

May, Walsh show NBA stars how it's done on sand court

One reason people seem to like the beach volleyball events at the Olympics is because it looks like everyone can play it— some better than others.

Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and James Harden of the U.S. men's basketball team found that out the hard way after they helped warm up the American pair, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings with an impromptu game of volleyball before the duo prepared to play a late night match on Thursday.  It was no day at the beach for the men.

The three NBA stars quickly learned that jumping around on the soft sand was a little more difficult than running on the hardwood.


The two volleyball stars were looking for someone to warm up with when their basketball counterparts miraculously showed up right before their late night match.  The U.S. team has been scheduled for 11 pm (local time) starts to maximize exposure to American television.

The five American athletes played a quick two-on-three friendly on the warm-up court before the women went center stage at the main volleyball stadium.

Durant— who has said he wanted to give beach volleyball a try— did block one shot on the significantly shorter Walsh.  But it was during garbage time after the women had built up a sizable lead.

While Durant and his buddies were finding out what it is like to get spiked by two of the world's best, the women were hoping some of the men's wizardry would rub off on them.

"At first I'm like, 'Gosh we got to be focusing,'" Walsh said.  "But when you're so intense, once they're there and you're getting their energy, it's such a welcome distraction . . . They're awesome and they have magic about them and I want to take some of that magic."

"It's fun and good for the sport," said May.  "You don't see them getting in the pool with Michael Phelps, right?  They're here with us playing volleyball."

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