by Jonathan Santiago / @itsJONsantiago
Social Media played a major role to keep the Kings in Sacramento for at least one more year. And now, it’s playing a vital role to bring basketball back to California’s capital during the NBA Lockout.
Kings forward Donté Greene is organizing a charity exhibition game for the Sacramento region, thanks in large part to Twitter. A Sacramento Kings fan tweeted the idea yesterday to Greene, who took the message to heart and put the thought into action.
Speaking to KHTK Radio in Sacramento this afternoon, Greene said he’s already reached out to a number of NBA players who are interested in playing in the game dubbed the Goon Squad Classic. Greene said Kings teammates DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside, Jason Thompson and rookie Isaiah Thomas have expressed their desire to play. The Kings forward also said that Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has interest as well.
“We’re definitely going to go out there and play,” Greene said in a phone interview on the Carmichael Dave Show. “It won’t be no nonchalant game. I’ma tell guys let’s come out and put on a show. Give the fans something to look forward to.”
New Kings big man JJ Hickson announced on Twitter last evening that he would play, too. Greene has also extended invitations to DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Jonny Flynn of the Houston Rockets, Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kings teammates Tyreke Evans and Jimmer Fredette.
“I don’t think he wants the upper-decker so he might want to show up to the game,” Greene said jokingly of a rookie hazing ritual Fredette could face if he doesn’t play.
Planning is still in the early stages, so a venue is still up in the air. With the ongoing labor strife between players and owners, Power Balance Pavilion is off limits. Greene said the Pavilion on the campus of UC Davis, which seats 8,000 at maximum capacity, is his preferred option.
“Right now there’s nothing set in stone,” Greene said. “Everything is (a) blueprint. UC Davis isn’t even set. That’s just a site I would like to host it at. But we’re still in talks with them.”
Greene would like to host the game the weekend before Thanksgiving, just a few days before the NBA season is scheduled to start if a new labor deal is reached in time. He’s hoping to get tickets on sale by November 1st.
Charities for the game are still being determined. However, the Kings forward said he would like some of the proceeds to go towards breast cancer awareness.
“That’s my charity (because) my mom had breast cancer,” he said. “That would be one of the charities that I’m definitely going to donate to is breast cancer.”
Sponsorship for the game is also being explored. Greene sent an open invitation to local Sacramento businesses to get involved. But he also said he will reach out to Nike, which has been sponsoring many of the exhibitions that have been played during the lockout.
“Nike sponsors most of the games and of course I’ll call Nike try to get them to sponsor this game,” Greene said. “Basketball Never Stops—that’s the slogan.”