- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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New York natives and NBA players Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest), Joakim Noah and Kemba Walker will headline the Entertainers Basketball Classic (EBC) squad when they face the Goodman League in a streetball game Sept. 30 at Long Island University in Brooklyn, according to EBC chief executive officer and founder Greg Marius.
Marius said EBC's roster will also include Dallas Mavericks forward Corey Brewer and there's interest in adding Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings and Detroit Pistons guard and Mount Vernon native Ben Gordon to the roster. Arrangements need to be made so Washington Wizards rookie Chris Singleton and Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews can join the team in Brooklyn.
"Everybody is definitely excited about this game," Marius said. "It's a lot of star power and it's for charity for both of the leagues. Both of us depend on sponsorship dollars and want to be able to create some other revenues and this is (a) great avenue with the lockout and players are willing to lend their support."
Marius also added that the team is looking to reach out to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant to see if he would be interested in playing with EBC. Marius said that Bryant once played in the EBC, which is a summer tournament that is played at Rucker Park in Harlem.
"He would make a great addition to our league," Marius said.
Originally, the plan had been for EBC to compose a team strictly of New York natives, like World Peace, Walker and Noah, but it's not looking like those plans will come to fruition, Marius said. Instead, the plan has shifted to create a team of players who formerly played in the EBC. Marius said that only Singleton and Brewer have not played in the tournament and Marius said he's very confident he will be able to assemble the team that he wants for the game.
The game came together about a week ago and Marius sped around to local colleges to see if they could host the game. Marius said he had reached out to St. John's, where he attended college, as well as Columbia and Fordham, but those schools were booked, which led to their pairing with LIU. Marius said his league has done events at LIU before.
"It's a good opportunity to have this game in New York," Marius said.
This will be EBC's first game during the lockout and they will oppose the Goodman League, a team based out of Washington D.C. Marius said that Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, Sacramento Kings forward Donte Greene, Wizards guard Josh Howard and Memphis Grizzlies guard Josh Selby are scheduled to play for Goodman.
On the EBC's website, it also says that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green and Bulls forward Taj Gibson are all scheduled to play in the game. Marius said those players would play for Goodman.
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
12hMatt Walks, ESPN.com