Another NBA Exhibition Coming to OKC
7:00 AM EDT on October 26, 2011
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Exhibition games organized by NBA basketball players have become a trend as a result of the NBA lockout. With the benefit normally given to charity, the games have been an oasis of basketball during a period where little is known about when the league will again play games. Now, the Association's owners are getting in on the action.
With Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett and NBA commissioner David Stern to his side, Thunder owner Clay Bennett announced an owner-organized charity game. The game, which will be held at Chesapeake Energy Arena, is scheduled for November 3rd.
Just last week, a game held in OKC that was organized by former Thunder player Desmond Mason and current Thunder star Kevin Durant sold out the Cox Convention Center mere moments after tickets became available. The game featured league superstars including Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, and also featured other Thunder players like Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
In response, the owner-led game intends to bring a star-laden line up that will be centered around Bennett. In addition, other ownership heavy weights will join him. Mark Cuban, owner of the Mavericks, Paul Allen of the Trail Blazers, and the Cavaliers' Dan Gilbert will join in the festivities.
"I can't wait," Cuban said while wearing a "Don't Let Us Overpay" t-shirt. "Most fans feel sorry for the players because they aren't allowed to play, but what about us owners? I haven't been able to yell at a referee since the Finals."
When asked if officials would be involved in the event that will not, due to collective bargaining difficulties, include any players or basketball activities, Cuban was quick to respond. "Of course. They aren't being locked out."
At Durant's exhbition, action involved world-class scoring, high flying dunks, and precision passing. What will be featured during the owner exhibition is less clear.
In addition to the promise of Cuban's antics, Bennett teased that Dan Gilbert may craft a letter while all eyes watch. "You can speculate about what font he will use." As for the content? "It will demonstrate our position that the players receive too much money and credit for the success of the league."
Whether the game will be as entertaining as the player-involved version is still up for debate, but it is already known to be just as successful financially. Just seconds after tickets were made available, every ticket was purchased by an Human Relations employee at Chesapeake Energy.
Profits from the game will be donated to NBA Charities, an organization that assists homeless professional sports owners who cannot pay their depreciation and amortization bills.