White Team defeats White Team, 111-111

  • 4 p.m., Sept. 24, 2011
  • Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mario’s Miracle 2: Paul Pierce returns; Mario Chalmers drills game-ending 3

Paul Pierce jokes with Mario Chalmers after Chalmers hit the Legends of the Phog scrimmage's game-tying shot at the buzzer Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Paul Pierce jokes with Mario Chalmers after Chalmers hit the Legends of the Phog scrimmage's game-tying shot at the buzzer Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Legends of the Phog postgame press conference

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Bill Self, Paul Pierce, Mario Chalmers and Larry Brown addressed the media after the Legends of the Phog alumni scrimmage Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Boston Celtics phenom Paul Pierce knew Saturday’s “Legends of the Phog” would be no ordinary exhibition basketball game.

“I told the guys when we came back from the layup line that I felt like it was a Game 7 playoff game. That’s how much adrenaline I had, how many chills I got from walking into the gym,” the 6-foot-7 forward said after scoring 16 points and grabbing eight rebounds in his KU alumni Blue team’s 111-111 tie — yes tie — against the KU White squad in Allen Fieldhouse.

Pierce, who last visited KU’s tradition-rich building eight years ago for his jersey retirement ceremony, broke a 108-108 tie by swishing a three over the outstretched hands of defender Brandon Rush with just five seconds remaining.

Showing a flair for the dramatic ... Pierce had jogged over to press row a few seconds before the shot to remind announcer Max Falkenstien he never lost a game in Allen in his three-year KU career.”

“Of course I did,” Pierce said, asked if he felt he was going to hit the game-winner. “If you don’t believe you are going to hit it, why be out there?

“It’s right up there,” he joked, asked where the shot ranked in his storied career. “Put that right behind the birth of my daughter.”

Amazingly, that clutch shot ultimately ranked as the second biggest of the game.

Responding to the chants of “Mario, Mario,” from the crowd of 16,300 ... Mario Chalmers answered with a game-tying three over the arms of defender Ryan Robertson with just one tick on the clock.

The 6-2 Miami Heat combo guard, who sent the 2008 NCAA title game against Memphis into overtime, had done it again. Yet this time there’d be no extra session. As Pierce raced behind Chalmers to give him a big bear-hug, KU coach Bill Self informed the refs that the game would end in a tie.

“I said to Mario, ‘That’s the way it’s supposed to end,’’’ Pierce said.

“Everybody remembers his championship shot. It was just a replay of it tonight.”

Chalmers, who scored 17 points and dished 10 assists, wasn’t about to disappoint in the clutch.

“I heard it,” he said of the fans calling his name shortly after White coach Ted Owens called a time out. “It’s something I’ve done before and something I’m accustomed to doing.

“This type of atmosphere was great to go out and have fun and be with the older guys and the coaches,” he added, modestly changing the subject from his shot to the overall experience.

There were plenty of stars Saturday.

l Memphis Grizzlies guard Xavier Henry scored 23 points off 8-of-13 shooting.

l Oklahoma City Thunder center Cole Aldrich grabbed 19 rebounds to go with 14 points.

l Thunder teammate Nick Collison came close to a triple double with 14 points, 10 assists and seven boards.

l Toronto forward Julian Wright had several vicious dunks en route to 14 points.

l St. Louis businessman Ryan Robertson looked like a guy who plays a lot of city league basketball. He scored 15 points off 6-of-8 shooting. He had five assists and hit 3-of-5 threes.

Aside from the wacky ending ... the main storyline had to be the return of Pierce, who after winning 44 games against no losses in Allen during his three-year KU career, brought his A-game Saturday.

“I do remember at halftime, he said, ‘Look I’ve never lost a game in here. I don’t want to experience one,’’’ Blue team coach Larry Brown said.

“Now I’m 55-0-1,” Pierce said, his math off just a bit.

The 33-year-old Pierce said he had a blast during his weekend stay in Lawrence.

“It’s fun to be here around my old teammates and reflect on my memories,” Pierce said. “When I got here (at 3 p.m., Friday) I walked the campus, saw some of my old classes and where I stayed, saw some of the new things they’ve added on. It brought back a lot of memories. I was glad I was able to come back.”

He said he felt honored Self — who hosted a party for the former players Friday night — invited him back for the weekend.

“I didn’t hesitate to tell him, ‘Yes,’’’ Pierce said. “It was a no-brainer. I’ve been wanting to come back. I wanted to get back this year for basketball camp. It didn’t work out with my schedule.

“I mentioned to coach I think we should have something like this again to where we get together. This is a family type program. The guys that come back ... they stay in touch. I still stay in touch with Ryan Robertson. I talk to Mario (Chalmers, in NBA). We have that relationship because we are Jayhawks. It’s beautiful. Other schools don’t do this around the country to where guys come back. This is a special place. Coach said any time we can, come back. I plan on coming back a lot more than I have in the past. You don’t truly realize how special this place is until you step back away from it and you see it again. It’s unbelievable.”

Self said he noticed Pierce wipe away a tear during the pre-game video introductions of all the players.

Pierce seemed to really enjoy a ‘Pop-up’ video played during the second half, which delighted the sellout crowd of 16,300. The video showed Pierce hoisting the 2008 NBA championship trophy after he was named MVP against the Lakers.

“It’s the same, it’s just a lot louder,” Pierce said of the fieldhouse today compared to his playing days (1996-98). I was on the bench and could barely hear coach Brown in the timeouts. It was that loud. “I told coach Self I’d have stayed four or five years in school if it was like this in ‘95,” Pierce added with a laugh, referring to the fieldhouse improvements that came after the title victory in ‘08. “They have all the amenities I’m sure the players all enjoy, thanks to Mario.”


Michael Auchard 9 years, 12 months ago

Game for the ages. So glad I got to see it. Even if I wasn't physically there at the game, I was definitely there in spirit. Rock Chalk Jayhawk for life!

lv_jhwk 9 years, 12 months ago

This HAS to be the start of yet another KU bb tradition!!

79ictjhawk 9 years, 12 months ago

Even though there wasn't much defense, the game was a lot of fun to watch. Great seeing so many of the former players again. With a 3 by Pierce & then by Chalmers - the game could not have ended better!

Paul Rupp 9 years, 12 months ago

One of the funnest events I've ever witnessed. Very proud to be a Jayhawk! And a Paul Pierce/Mario Chalmers tie? Can't make it up. RCJH.

Jeff Coffman 9 years, 12 months ago

Or you could just look at the "TP" is much easier.

Brad Avery 9 years, 12 months ago

Highlights would have been a nice addition to the coverage.

jaybate 9 years, 12 months ago

So much for Ted's teams playing plod ball. LB and Ted--two defense minded coaches--got a 100 plus hung on'em!

Self probably came into both locker rooms and said, "Couldn't you at least kept it under a 100?

A legendary day!

Pierce has grown up to be an incredible human being.

Mario Chalmers is the man the gods have chosen to do their will.

Danny is our Joe Dimaggio quietly dignified.

And like always, in the background, quietly letting it all play out around him, leaving space and time for every one to play their riffs, to be themselves, there is MY man...

Brandon Rush.

He is the grand master of jazz.

He is the Count Basie of wood.

He is a man out of time in time.

In the age of the ego maniacal, in the age of the grab it all sooner rather later, in the age of XTReme hype, he is the man that makes the whole flipping band play beautiful.

Brandon is still the real invisible hand.

Brandon is still the Dancing Wu Li master.

Brandon is still the only one who gets it all.

Everyone else is playing their role magnificently.

But Brandon is the Kool Jazz goofy Buddha at the center of it all.

He is the axle on this mandella.

He is the youngest brother who has seen it all and gets it all and know you just do what you do and keep the family loose and keep a low profile and step in occasionally, as smoothly as possible, and support them when they need it...expecting no reward.

Brandon even has to be patient with Bill Self, who is so busy with his as ringmaster and being in awe of his own heroes.

Even Coach Self is not yet at a point where he can see Brandon for what he is.

Brandon is The Legacy's Wu Li Master.

Rock Chalk!

dynamitehawk 9 years, 12 months ago

What was cool that many players got close to their career average, and contributed at least one play that defined their careers.

Robert Robinson 9 years, 12 months ago

"Danny is our Joe Dimaggio quietly dignified."

I sometimes wonder if people realize just how lucky and honored we are having him still sitting on our bench.

Is it just me, or does he just seem to be one of the most humble people on the planet?

rxjayhawk 9 years, 12 months ago

I unfortunately had to work. I don't have metro sports so I was unable to record it and I no one I know has metro sports either! Anyone know if there is a way I can watch it?

DDDHawk 9 years, 12 months ago

Thanks to all of the Legends for taking the time and effort to return to their basketball home, and giving us a wonderful night filled with memories of the past, hopes for the future, and honoring a beloved coach who passed away too soon. I hope that the evening was the first of many to come!

Robert Robinson 9 years, 12 months ago

Well I broke down and payed 50 bucks for my GA ticket. WORTH EVERY PENNY! That was the best finish to a basketball game I have ever seen. Almost brings a tear to the eye.

FairwayKS 9 years, 12 months ago

Speedy....did you save enough to pay for spelling lessons? Have you PAID off your student loans yet?

Robert Robinson 9 years, 12 months ago

What are you the spelling police? Sorry, I had been up for about 10 minutes. Partied pretty hard after the game. Just a fun filled fact for you though. This is a basketball forum, not a spelling competition. Most of us get on here to talk about basketball. But then there is you. The spelling police. The guy no one likes. I'm sure you felt good typing that post. But everyone that read it is probably just as annoyed as I am. With all that said.... BACK TO BASKETBALL!

Dan Harris 9 years, 12 months ago

Have you moved out of your moms basement yet?

Andrew Holmes 9 years, 12 months ago

I was at the game and when they announced the championship teams I thought it was cool that Mario went into the stands and brought out Conner Teahan who the announcer forgot to mention for the '08 team. This is a family and no matter if you are a walk on or you are the star, these guys are family and will stick together. I would have also liked to have heard from a few more of the players speak during timeouts and dead balls, but all in all in was one of the best games and most memorable games I have seen in AFH. Will never forget this day and being able to see some of the true legends that have played for KU. RCJKU

LAJayhawk 9 years, 12 months ago

Curious, did the opening video get filmed by anyone out there? Got a YouTube link? I'm sure someone out there put it up on the web.......

Marcia Parsons 9 years, 12 months ago

I'd just like a video of the whole game. They should make one. Sales would add to the take for coach's memorial.

dynamitehawk 9 years, 12 months ago

Live was unreal.... Choked a bit on 120 per seat.... but it was worth it.

Watching replay now on Metro Sports.

15 years ago I'd still be out :) but was home in time to tuck in the kids.

Jstucks44 9 years, 12 months ago

Any word on the response of the recruits that were in attendance?

100 9 years, 12 months ago

Good posts Ralster.

What a Saturday!

It felt like it wouldn't have been all that strange to see Naismith & Chamberlain come strolling out...

Kansas Basketball in September stealing viewers from ESPN....


Still have chills thinking about that ending...

Kansas fans also... Always been an incredible group. It's like the torch has been passed seamlessly ever since Naismith coached the first game in Lawrence... Our fans just "get it."

On a side, I liked that the Rock Chalk Chant seemed to be back on track... Shameful what a few Missouri Tiger "Jayhawk students" tried to do with our chant last year (throwing in the "wooooo"). The "woooo" is for high school football games, not Allen Fieldhouse, & certainly not the Rock Chalk Chant.

Tim Orel 9 years, 12 months ago

Ummm.... The title on this page says "White Team Defeats White Team". Couldn't the LJW get that right?

Pitthawk34 9 years, 12 months ago

I was confused as well. I can understand a typo here and there but not the damn title.

Pitthawk34 9 years, 12 months ago

Off topic...But has anyone heard anything if plans are in the works to house the rules?

Scott MacWilliams 9 years, 11 months ago

Add my name to the list for a DVD of this incredible event.

I was there during the Jacque Vaughn years, and my wife kept asking me where he was. Someone mentioned that he got a coaching job, so I looked around for the story... It's a pretty good read.

Too bad his new job kept him away, though. Maybe if there is another alumni game, he can be there.

Here's the link-


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