Officials from President Obama's '12 campaign Friday announced that Magic C Dwight Howard, Hornets G Chris Paul, Knicks F Carmelo Anthony and other current and former NBA stars "will play in a game on Dec. 12 in Washington, D.C., to raise money" for Obama's re-election bid, according to Josh Robbins of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. The event is being called "The Obama Classic Basketball Game." The president's campaign website states that ticket prices “begin at $100 apiece and top out at $5,000 for a courtside seat.” In addition to Howard, Paul and Anthony, the website lists 27 other current or former NBA players as "confirmed to play." The group includes Vince Carter, Kevin Durant, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Doc Rivers, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Quentin Richardson and Patrick Ewing (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 11/19). In West Palm Beach, Ethan Skolnich noted the participation of team employees including Ewing, Mourning and Rivers “would seemingly create an issue, considering the league’s strict rules against contact with players” during the NBA lockout. In addition, the Dec. 12 date “could conflict with NBA training camps if the players and owners call off the lawyers and actually agree to a labor deal in the next 10 days or so” (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 11/18). A report indicates that the NBA "issued an exception" to the rule stating that players "and coaches cannot be at the same event during the lockout period" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/20). The game "has yet to select a venue." Verizon Center "is not available because lockout rules prohibit players from using an NBA arena" (NEWSDAY.com, 11/19).
CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS: In N.Y., Geoff Earle cited data from the Center for Responsive Politics that reports the NFL Jets “rank among the top three NFL teams when it comes to political donations, mostly from well-heeled executives, kicking in $148,000 since 2009.” Sources said that the team “gave 80 percent of their cash to Republicans, with some of those contributions going from owner Woody Johnson to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.” Johnson has given “more than $130,000 since 2009 -- the second most of anyone connected to the NFL, with 88 percent going to Republicans.” The NFL Giants “lean distinctly Democratic when it comes to politics, with people connected to the team giving 92 percent to Democrats, making them one of only eight teams in the league to give to the party of the football-loving Kennedys.” In total, players, execs, and employees of all the teams “gave more than $1.4 million since 2009” (N.Y. POST, 11/19).