NBA Lockout Watch, Day 145: NBA Players To Host Four-City "Homecoming Tour"
Plans were formally announced yesterday for the Google+ Homecoming Tour, an exhibition tour featuring locked out NBAers LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. The tour will visit Akron, New Orleans, Chicago and East Rutherford, N.J., with proceeds from the events to benefit each player's charitable foundation. In addition to title sponsor Google+, sponsors will include Mission AthleteCare, Sheets Energy Strips, Zico Coconut Water and American Family Insurance. The tour is organized by CAA Sports, which represents all four players (THE DAILY). The AP's Tim Reynolds noted tickets for the first three games "go on sale" today, while tickets for the final game at Izod Center "will be on sale" tomorrow. Rosters for the four games "will likely change considerably in each city." The principals "involved in this say the tour will be different from most offseason exhibitions in many ways, notably the extensive charitable aspects." Events begin Nov. 29 in N.Y. with a "court dedication and food drive, before the group moves to Akron for events the following day that include a Wheels for Education program," and a "basketball clinic at the Boys & Girls Club" that bears James' name (AP, 11/21). In addition to the Izod Center, games will be played at Univ. of Akron, the Univ. of New Orleans and the Univ. of Illinois-Chicago. In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman notes the "hometown angle of the tour had particular appeal for Wade and James" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/22). On Long Island, Alan Hahn notes the Izod Center game reflects Anthony's "Gotham roots and reconnection to the city as a Knick." As a result of the ongoing NBA lockout, "players can not use NBA arenas, which is why Anthony could not use Madison Square Garden" (NEWSDAY, 11/22).
DETAILS ON THE TOUR: Wade said, "We're not doing it so people don't forget our names. We're really doing this to continue to make an impact in the communities that we go to and also to show that we love this game, we're going to continue to play it and that this is something we all decided to do together. So that's what makes this special'' (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/22). In Chicago, Mike McGraw notes the "hometown theme is loosely interpreted," and it will be "interesting to see if any Bulls players take part in the UIC game." McGraw notes Bulls G Derrick Rose "has stated a distaste for all-star games and didn't do much to recruit Wade or James to Chicago as free agents in 2010, so he'd be a surprising participant" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 11/22). In New Orleans, Jimmy Smith notes the local "stop on the tour was scheduled for the evening of Dec. 4, but it was moved up when the NFL changed the Saints-Lions game that day to prime time to accommodate NBC’s 'Sunday Night Football' telecast" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 11/22).
IT'S ALL GOOD? In West Palm Beach, Ethan Skolnick wrote, "The worldwide tour didn't work out. So LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will headline a domestic one." But Skolnick wrote while this is "all for a good cause, it can't make you feel good about the state of NBA negotiations, or at least about where the stars feel they are" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 11/21). YAHOO SPORTS' Kelly Dwyer wrote, "Nothing but good can come of this." Any "appearance, any dollar raised, and any amount of stay-in-shape work remains a good thing as the lockout drones on and on" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/21). Meanwhile, in Orlando, Josh Robbins reports Magic C Dwight Howard "will not be playing in President Barack Obama's basketball-themed campaign fundraiser next month." The online flyer for The Obama Classic Basketball Game "no longer lists Howard as one of the players 'confirmed to play'" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 11/22).