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Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose will headline an upcoming USO tour in Hawaii, the organization announced Tuesday.
The NBA's reigning MVP will be joined by Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson, Hawks forward Al Horford, Charlotte Bobcats guard D.J. Augustin, Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans, New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez, Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez, Washington Wizards center JaVale McGee and Miami Heat guard Mike Miller as part of the "Hoops for Troops" program. The group will take part in different events, including conducting clinics and visiting military bases.
"I am honored to take part in a USO tour and greatly appreciate the USO's efforts in organizing this trip," Rose said, according to a press release from the USO. "I am so thankful for the great sacrifices the service members and their families make for our country and it is a truly special opportunity to give back by sharing our love of basketball with them."
The event should be a welcomed distraction for the players, who are currently in the midst of a lockout that is threatening the entire NBA season.
"There is no better way to celebrate our seventy years of providing morale boosting programs and services to troops and their families, than by deploying nine of today's most recognizable basketball players on a USO tour to Hawaii," USO president and CEO Sloan Gibson said, according to the release. "All of our tours generate a great level of excitement among troops and their families, and sport themed tours like this are certainly among the top of the list. We are excited by all the smiles this tour is sure to deliver by making this happen for our friends in Hawaii."Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.