by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni
Due to the ongoing NBA lockout, we have been deprived of the chance to watch many of the world’s best basketball players in meaningful competition. This will continue to be the case until the work stoppage is resolved.
However, if you’re into endless highlights and glitzy hoops showcases (and I know you are), there’s good news: many of the NBA’s biggest names are set to take part in a world tour, starting at the end of this month.
ESPN has the details:
While NBA commissioner David Stern and players’ union executive Billy Hunter meet with a federal mediator in hopes of saving the NBA season, the league’s top players are finalizing plans for a two-week exhibition tour during what would have been the first two weeks of the regular season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. In a trip that could resemble Team USA’s takeover of the world stage at the 2008 Beijing Games, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce and Kevin Love are among the players expected to participate. Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett, among a few others, are also contemplating joining the tour. Tyson Chandler also has agreed to participate in the tour, [according to a source.]
Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden has been putting the tour together with the players’ agents for nearly three months. He has already obtained signed contracts from Bryant, Wade, Bosh, Griffin, Rondo and Pierce. Sources say he’s hoping to complete the rest of the agreements, along with insurance requirements, over the next few days. Even so, sources warned that the tour has not yet been finalized and there’s still a chance it could unravel. The tour, scheduled to begin Oct. 30 and end Nov. 9, will make stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau, and Australia. Each game will be staged in an arena that holds at least 15,000 fans. Two games each will be played at sites in London and Australia.
The 10-day barnstorming tour, should it happen, will take part across four continents.
In addition to lining the players’ pockets — the biggest of superstars could make “north of $1 million” for participating — some of the proceeds will also go to charity.