June 13, 2014
By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Someone wanted to win. Amid all the jovial byplay and silliness, all the fun trash talking between each other, someone had his gameface on, and had no problems letting everyone know it.
On Saturday at Neumann University’s Mirenda Center for Sport, DeSean Jackson, now a Washington Redskin, made a triumphant return to the Philadelphia area and dropped 45 points on his pal’s team, LeSean McCoy, during McCoy’s charity basketball game benefiting McCoy’s personal charity, Shades of Greatness, and ALS.
In the end, it was DeSean Jackson’s team that prevailed over McCoy’s, despite a 22-point slam dunk by the denim-short-wearing Connor Barwin, in a 93-91 victory.
Jackson was easily the best player on the court, which included Cleveland Cavalier Dion Waiters, boxing champ Danny Garcia, and rapper Nelly. And while everyone else was playing for fun—Jackson was playing for real. Maybe it was Jackson’s way of telling the fans that packed the gym on Saturday this is what they’ll be missing—or maybe it was just the competitive side of Jackson surfacing, there was no doubt he wore his NFL-I’m-serious gameface.
“I was here for the fans,” said Jackson afterward.
Jackson took time to sign autographs, take selfies with fans and was very cordial to everyone—except the handful of media there covering the event.
The event itself was a raging success.
McCoy was everywhere, wearing an ever-ready smile—and engaging with everyone. He wasn’t just a bystander as many celebrities hosting their own charity events sometimes are.
“This is important to me,” said McCoy, whose grandmother, Maryann Branch, died several years ago of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “I think sometimes where I face adversity, I look back to how she fought and struggled. There’s times that I’m complaining about different things where it’s not as serious as the things she fought, the disease she fought and that helps me get over my adversity sometimes.
“Man, she was special. The weird thing is she didn’t care too much about sports. There were times that I had five, six touchdowns and she’d pat me on the back like, ‘Good job.’ Then, something small, like the next day I go to church and I have a nice suit on and I dressed myself and she’s like, ‘Oh my God!’”
There was one interesting aside from the charity event, which was also attended by Jeremy Maclin. It was interesting how either Maclin or Jackson were anywhere near each other during the early portion of the afternoon, but at halftime during a shoot-around, the two engaged in what appeared to be an animated discussion near midcourt, where Barwin stepped in.
Maclin and Jackson eventually laughed, shook hands, and left the court together exchanging cell numbers.