Sources: Tour dates, details finalized
Nearly two dozen of the NBA's top stars will embark on a six-game, two-week, four-continent tour that begins Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The tour, dubbed the World All-Star Classic, was first reported last week by ESPN.com and has been in the works for the past three months, but terms and logistics are now finalized and an official announcement will be made by the tour's organizers on Wednesday.
Players Put On Exhibition For Military
HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Sacramento Kings guard Tyreke Evans hit a buzzer-beating, step-back 3-pointer over the Miami Heat's Mike Miller to give the Red squad a 81-78 win over the Derrick Rose-led White squad in a USO tour-sponsored exhibition at the base's Bloch Arena.
The exhibition Tuesday night was part of a week-long series of appearances by a group of eight NBA players, with a second game scheduled for Thursday night at Scofield Barracks.
Charlotte's D.J. Augustin, Atlanta's Al Horford, New Jersey center Brook Lopez, Phoenix center Robin Lopez and Washington center JaVale McGee played alongside a handful of military players. One of the latter, technical sergeant Sylvester "Wes" Lawrence, brought a dose of sobering reality to the event when, shortly before halftime, he quietly visited both benches to say goodbye before heading to his quarters to pack for deployment in the Middle East.
Admission to the game was free and available only to military personnel and their families. A line snaked from the entrance through the parking lot more than an hour before tipoff.
The players spent Monday visiting a Wounded Warrior center and dining with troops. The experience of meeting soldiers who were maimed or lost limbs in combat, Rose said, "was a great reminder never to take anything for granted."
-- Ric Bucher, ESPN The Magazine senior NBA writer
The remaining 14 players will be announced Wednesday. LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Carlos Boozer, Tyson Chandler, Steve Nash, Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo and Chris Kaman are among the candidates.
Rose confirmed his decision to pull out of the tour before playing in a USO-backed exhibition on Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii, the first such event featuring active NBA players.
"The scheduling was just too tough," said Rose, whose USO work will keep him in Hawaii until Friday morning.
Westbrook also opted to withdraw from the global exhibitions, sources close to tour production told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher. The Thunder's All-Star point guard could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The tour's first game will be played Sunday, Oct. 30, in San Juan at Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum. Tickets will go on sale in Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon.
The next two games will be on Nov. 1 and 3 at the O2 Arena in London. Game 4 will be played Nov. 6 in Macau in the Cotai Arena at the Venetian Hotel, and the tour will close in Melbourne, Australia, with games at Rod Laver Arena on Nov. 8 and 9.
Each player will receive a salary, ranging from six figures to $1 million. Many of the proceeds will go toward charity.
Atlanta businessman Calvin Darden, who sits on the boards of Target, Coca-Cola and Cardinal Health, put the tour together.
Chris Broussard is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher was used in this report.