If you were at the USC-Oregon college football game this past Saturday night, you might have sighted four of the NBA’s currently locked out biggest stars on the sideline. If not, you still might have the opportunity to see LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony on a basketball court in early December.
The quartet are scheduled to lead what has been billed as a four-game “Homecoming” tour, with one game in the respective home city of each of the players. The four will lead a roster of other NBA players, which will change depending on the venue.
The tour is scheduled to begin on Dec. 1 in James’ hometown at the University of Akron; followed by a Dec. 4 game in New Orleans, where Paul, who was born in North Carolina, plays for the Hornets, to take place at the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena; a Dec. 7 game in Wade’s hometown at the University of Illinois-Chicago; and the final game at the Izod Center on Dec. 10 in East Rutherford, N.J., which would align with Anthony’s birthplace across the Hudson River in Brooklyn, NY.
All four players are endorsed by Nike or Nike division Jordan Brand. Google+ is the tour sponsor, with other marketers likely to join in. The games will be streamed live on Google+.
All the games will be played for charitable causes in the respective local communities.
Among the other players said to be aligned with the Google Plus Homecoming tour include Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, both from the Miami Heat. They, along with James, Wade, Paul and Anthony have been participating at a training camp in Oregon camp for players represented by Creative Artists Agency.
“I am so excited to have this opportunity to participate in this tour,” Anthony said in a statement. “To couple two of the things I love to do – play basketball and give back – is special. This is just the beginning of a movement to facilitate change in our communities and I am happy to be a part of a group of guys willing to lead the charge.”
Pre-tour events are scheduled for Nov. 29 in New York with a court dedication and food drive.
Numerous other “lockout games” have been played over the past two months, including the South Florida All-Star Classic in early October that featured the Heat teammates (pictured above). But several proposed tours have not been staged, most notably a global tour that was scheduled but is now being replanned.
The NBA currently has canceled games through November, with games through December next on the chopping block should the lockout continue.
PHOTO: Richard C. Lewis/Icon SMI