Monday, July 7, 2003
Updated: July 18, 8:56 PM ET
LeBron's agent wishes charity game was closed
By Darren Rovell
LeBron James will play his first game in an NBA uniform in front of at least 12,000 fans when his Cleveland Cavaliers summer league team faces the Orlando Magic squad on Tuesday at the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando.
As of noon Tuesday, the Magic have sold 9,000 $5 tickets, reserved 3,000 free tickets for season-ticket holders and are withholding 5,000 more seats for season-ticket holders who might come forward to claim their tickets, according to Magic spokesman Joel Glass.
The tickets are good for three games, the final one featuring James against the Magic at 7 p.m.
"As we get closer to game time, if the seats we have put aside have not been claimed, we'll obviously put them on sale at the door," Glass said.
If the Magic sell or give away 2,779 more tickets, they will surpass their home attendance average from last year.
James' agent, Aaron Goodwin, told ESPN.com Monday night that he'd rather James have a chance to play competitively in private before being exposed to public scrutiny.
"This is supposed to be a learning experience, but it's hard for it to be when there will be more than 10,000 fans there and more than 100 members of the media," Goodwin said. "Before this year, the Magic's summer league was closed, but now they've opened it up (for a day) and in doing so, LeBron's every move will be watched, his every dribble, his every shot.
"I know LeBron welcomes the challenge, but I also realize he's just 18 years old," Goodwin said.
Last week, Goodwin advocated that the Magic give some of the proceeds from the $5 tickets to games to Cleveland-based charities. The Magic earmarked funds for the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation. As of Monday night, it was still unclear whether the team would give any proceeds to the Cavaliers, Goodwin said.
"This has nothing to do with greed," Goodwin said. "LeBron has been exploited throughout his high school career and we wanted to see if we could use this opportunity to give something back to Cleveland."
Goodwin says James will wear Nike shoes, but will not preview James' signature model. A limited-edition James shoe is scheduled to come out on the first game of the regular season, with the first mass-market shoe hitting stores along with the apparel in late November.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org