Last week the played host to a few Washington Wizards players, leaving open the possibility that they and possibly more of the team could return for practices.
Andray Blatche, Hamady N’Diaye and Chris Singleton along with Marcus Cousin from the Houston Rockets used the gym’s basketball court for three days last week due to the NBA lockout that has kept players out of their normal training facilities, said Columbia Gym general manager Steve Mendelsohn.
“They came when the number of members there would be low, but it gave those who saw them a nice thrill,” Mendelsohn said.
The players scrimmaged and did drills on the basketball court and handed out t-shirts saying “Playoffs Start Here.” They played around noontime and then later on at 9:30 p.m.
More of the players from the Wizards had planned to attend, but backed out at the last minute due to a training event in Las Vegas, according to the Washington Post. The story also said Blatche had been trying to take on a leadership role within the team as its longest-tenured player and had hoped the practices would create a deeper bond between the players.
Mendelsohn said there are no more practices planned at Columbia Gym yet, but that the gym is happy to help out the Wizard’s players during the lockout.
The lockout, which is entering its third month, is an ongoing labor dispute between players and team owners over the collective bargaining agreement that affects the players' contracts and salaries.