In what is being dubbed the “greatest sand volleyball match ever assembled,” NBA player Richard Jefferson, current Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton, and former NBA player turned professional beach volleyball player Chase Budinger will play against, and with, five professional beach volleyball players from the AVP tour. Hermosa Beach in California is the location, and the game will go down on April 21.
The McKibbin brothers, Riley and Maddison, are the ones who decided to put this match together. They brought together volleyball pros Casey Patterson, Sean Rosenthal, and Stafford Slick to join them in this match with some former and current NBA players. Chase Budinger has been playing in the AVP Pro Tour with these guys, but Walton and Jefferson are no strangers to the volleyball court.
Luke Walton has lived near the volleyball courts on the beach in California. A lot of the professional players have said that they see him out playing volleyball all the time. Richard Jefferson even makes his own appearances on Walton’s team from time-to-time. In an annual six-man tournament held on Manhattan Beach, Walton and Jefferson played in the Men’s Open division. While they did not make the finals, they were not a team you could roll over as if they were the Sacramento Kings.
These aren’t the only current or former NBA players that have enjoyed the sport of volleyball though. Superstars such as Kevin Love and Joel Embiid have also played beach volleyball. Many athletes have attributed their improved footwork, agility, and explosiveness to volleyball. Many sports demand to sprint for long distances or for long periods of time, whereas, volleyball demands a plethora of short, quick movements and explosiveness every single play.
When it comes to hitting and blocking in volleyball, most guys only get a few steps, if any at all, before jumping. There are no running starts like a dunk on a fastbreak. Instead of trying to predict where a ballhandler is going to move to attack the basket, you have to predict where a ball is going to be hit. So, this means you have less time to read plays, which can sharpen one’s decisions in crunch time moments. Any successful athlete would inform other aspiring athletes to play more than one sport. Not only does it prevent from being burnt out in one single sport when you are young, but each sport can teach you something else to use in the sport you love the most.
So, if you live near Hermosa Beach. Grab your friends, your family, the suntan lotion, and go watch some incredible athletes put on a show!