Top 10 Plays from the Battle for I-95

The magic was back in the Palestra last night as Team Philly and Team Melo took the court for the highly anticipated duel. The boys from the City of Brotherly Love defended their hometurf though, as guys like Tyreke Evans and Kyle Lowry stole the show from LeBron, Carmelo, and CP3.

In case you missed it, here are the top 10 plays, from Ball is Life.

Iverson “supposed” to play in Battle for I-95?

Well, so much for that rumor dying down.

The possibility of 76ers great Allen Iverson playing in Sunday's Team Melo vs. Team Philly "Battle for I-95" at the Palestra is looking more and more likely after published a report this morning. ESPN New York's Ian Begley quoted a "source with knowledge of the game rosters" that said Iverson is "supposed" to play in the game.

Rumors initially spread because Iverson is reportedly hosting an event on Saturday at a Philly night club. The addition of "The Answer" would give Team Philly some star power to counter Team Melo's LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.

Game organizer Rahim Thompson continues to respond to questions about Iverson's participation with "no comment." But it appears we're in for some surprises once 6 p.m. on Sunday arrives. We'll keep you posted as we find out more.

Kobe Bryant unlikely to play in Battle for I95

As soon as Hakim Warrick said he has "a few all-star surprises" up his sleeve for the Team Philly vs. Team Melo game, rumors swirled about Lakers star Kobe Bryant potentially joining his hometown team. After speaking with Kobe's marketing manager Jerry Foyer this afternoon, however, I can tell you that it's safe to count Kobe out of the September 25th event at the Palestra.

Foyer said Bryant has a European tour scheduled for that week and he will thus be out of the country until the end of September -- which explains the "other obligations" Warrick mentioned to The tour is scheduled to take him through Turkey, Greece and Italy, where Kobe will run youth basketball clinics.

According to Foyer, Bryant, a Lower Merion High School (Pa.) graduate, has not even been contacted about participating in the Battle for I95. "He actually brought it up today," Foyer said, but the two "didn't go into depth" about the possibility of playing because of the prior commitment.

It's an unfortunate scheduling conflict, because Bryant's participation would have taken the exhibition to an even higher level (if that's possible). As is, the star power is heavily weighted toward Team Melo, with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul already in the fold. Recently committed Chester native Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings) will at least give the Philly fans a hometown hero to root for, but Kobe playing at the Palestra would have been a sight to behold and would have certainly helped his shaky relationship with fans in this city.

If anything, though, Kobe's packed schedule shows how improbable this turn of events truly is -- the game's organizers were able to bring international superstars onto our campus. Pretty amazing.

Mano-A-Mano Volume VI: The Battle for I-95

ManoAMano1Somehow, someway, a game that seemed like a pipe-dream a month ago has evolved into THE must-see event on campus this month. Suddenly, the worlds of professional sports and Penn Athletics are colliding, and we can proudly say that our school, our Palestra will soon be the center of the basketball universe. So before someone pinches us, let's talk the upcoming Team Philly vs. Team Melo scrimmage ("The Battle for I-95") and its impact on the Penn basketball program.

Question: How will the Sept. 25th event at the Palestra help Penn's efforts to revitalize its storied basketball program?

Brian Kotloff: I know it may seem like a stretch to suggest that an NBA scrimmage could impact Penn Basketball, no matter how much excitement this announcement is creating around campus. After all, who wouldn't be thrilled to host some of the world's greatest athletes in your own backyard? And isn't student interest in the Ivy League, not the NBA, the real issue? To me, this game transcends these questions. This game has Penn sports fans — and maybe even casual observers familiar with the celebrity status of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony — legitimately buzzing about an athletic event on campus. That's a good start.

But where this event will truly make its mark on this campus is in the promotion of the Palestra. Our cathedral was integral to making this happen, and students will recognize that. Hakim Warrick said the Palestra was his first choice as a venue. "When you think of Philly," he said, "... you think of the Palestra." A major part of the problem with student interest and attendance is that current and future students do not appreciate the historical significance of their school's basketball program and its home arena. Now LeBron James — perhaps the most famous, captivating, electrifying athlete in the world right now —wants to come play here. He wouldn't even participate in the dunk contest, and now he's taking on the pressure of performing against his biggest rivals in one of the country's best basketball venues. The message that sends can be invaluable in getting students to re-discover the Palestra as THE place to be on game nights.

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LeBron, Durant and CP3 Coming To Palestra [UPDATED]


UPDATE: For the full story, including an interview with the event's organizer, see the article here on

UPDATE 2: Contrary to reports we heard last night, tickets will not be on sale at 9 a.m. Stay tuned for info as we get it.


In the last report about the star-studded Team Philly-Team Baltimore game being held at the Palestra on September 25th, we found out that Carmelo Anthony would be bringing along some fellow NBA players from the Baltimore/D.C. area, including Josh Selby and Gary Neal, in addition to "more surprise guests."

Now we're hearing, according to, those surprise guests will be none other than two-time MVP LeBron James, two-time scoring champ Kevin Durant and arguably the best point guard in the world in Chris Paul — as if this game needed any more star-power.

In the original ESPN report about the game, one of the event's planners, Phoenix Suns forward Hakim Warrick said that Carmelo would likely not be bringing along the same team — which included James and Paul — he brought for the Goodman-Team Melo game. Well, I guess plans have changed since then and now 'Melo's stacked team can add Goodman's finest, Durant, to the mix.

These video highlights could very well be a preview of what's in store.