How the Philippines Convinced Kobe, Durant to Play in Exhibition

Basically, some very rich business folks in the Philippines threw a ton of money at NBA stars to show up for a couple of fun, silly exhibition games. Well, it’s a tad more complicated than that, as Grantland explains in a long and fascinating piece, but yeah … a lot of money was made by the players: “What did it take to bring four top-tier NBA superstars, three of its more talented young players, a sage old vet, and the second pick in this year’s draft to Manila? ‘A lot of things had to go right,’ said Chot Reyes, who coaches the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, one of two PBA teams owned by Pangilinan. Reyes, a former coach of the Philippine national team, was one of the event’s primary organizers. He created a list of NBA players to target and served as spokesman with the Philippine media. East-West reported back to Pangilinan and Reyes with the players’ demands and a ballpark figure for the project’s entire budget, including first-class travel, hotel bookings for a delegation that Scott pegged at around 30 people, 24-hour security, insurance, and the players’ talent fees. Scott and Reyes both declined to reveal the exact amount, but Reyes admitted it was ‘very, very expensive.’ He has also disputed the Sports Illustrated report that Bryant, Durant, and Rose were paid more than $400,000 each for the weekend … Once they signed Kobe, everything started coming together. ‘Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant were iffy at that point,’ Reyes added, ‘but I think when Kobe signed, they signed as well.’ Durant, who returned from his own China tour on July 16, was unwilling at first to fly back to Asia in just a week’s time. Then he heard about the lineup MVP and Reyes had put together and became the last player to confirm, just two days before the first game.”