The Michigan State, North Carolina, Florida and Texas men’s basketball teams will play in a “barnstorming event” in December ’18 after agreeing to play “three games, one each in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles over an eight-day period … while traveling together on a single chartered airplane,” according to Andy Katz of ESPN.com. The teams will arrive in N.Y. on Dec. 14 “on their own,” with the first doubleheader scheduled for MSG the following day. They will then “travel together to Chicago later that night.” United Center will host the second doubleheader Dec. 18. The final doubleheader will be Dec. 22 at Staples Center. Michigan State AD Mark Hollis, who came up with the idea, said that each team will get a “home game against an opponent to be determined later to make this a four-game event and qualify as a multiteam event” (ESPN.com, 2/13). In Detroit, Joe Rexrode reports the matchups and times “have yet to be announced, but ESPN is backing the event and will televise the games.” Hollis said that enough revenue should be made “so the schools don’t have to pay for any trip expenses.” Some profit is “possible depending on ticket sales at the three venues.” He added that Marriott is “giving the teams rate breaks in the three cities, and he’s ‘99% sure’ Delta Airlines will be providing the plane” (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/13).
Events and Attractions
The NBA All-Star Game will be played Sunday in New Orleans for the second time in six years, and both Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson yesterday “spoke of getting New Orleans into a rotation to regularly host the event,” according to Nakia Hogan of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Landrieu said that NOLA already is “in the hunt to host another All-Star Game, while adding that this upcoming weekend would only piggyback off of last year's successful Super Bowl, which New Orleans hosted.” Hogan reported the Benson family and the game’s local host committee are going to do their best “to persuade the NBA's decision makers with a series of parties and events around town this weekend” (NOLA.com, 2/12). Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation President & CEO Jay Cicero said, “We really want to make a great impression on Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA.” In New Orleans, John Reid noted one change from the ’08 ASG is that the host committee this year has co-Chairs -- former NBAer and New Orleans native Avery Johnson and Pelicans Vice Chair Rita Benson LeBlanc. They have served as “ambassadors to help promote the game and other related All-Star events” (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 2/12).
TAKE ME TO THE OTHER SIDE: BILLBOARD.com’s Jason Lipshutz reported musicians Jason Derulo, Aloe Blacc and Mack Wilds have been added to the “list of NBA All-Star Weekend performers, as the trio will play the Sprint NBA All-Star Pregame Concert” on Sunday. Wilds and Derulo will “perform live on NBA TV” prior to the game, then Derulo and Blacc will “take the stage during TNT's NBA All-Star pregame show.” Other confirmed performers during All-Star Weekend include Pharrell Williams; Kendrick Lamar; Earth, Wind & Fire; and Gary Clark Jr. (BILLBOARD.com, 2/10).
JUSTICE FOR ALL: ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’s Darren Franich noted Turner Sports and DC Entertainment today will release “The Justice League Goes Inside the NBA: All Star Edition,” a comic book that pairs the cast of TNT’s NBA studio team with DC Comics’ The Justice League. The 12-page, limited-edition comic, written by B. Clay Moore and drawn by Tony Shasteen, will be free for attendees at the NBA All-Star Jam Session in New Orleans. That opens today and lasts until Sunday. The comic also is available on NBA.com (Turner Sports). The book sees Superman, Green Lantern, Steel and the Flash “take part in a charity basketball game” (EW.com, 2/5).