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First stop in Kobe, LeBron world tour already in jeopardy

Oct 24, 2011, 12:04 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant AP

It’s going to happen in some form because the biggest names have signed up — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and others are in for a six-game world exhibition tour. ESPN’s Ric Bucher reports that 14 players have inked deals.

But it’s not that simple to put together a tour, and already the first stop — in Puerto Rico this coming Saturday night — may be falling apart.

Basically, it’s because other businesses want rock solid business deals in place before they put their necks out there, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

Tour organizer Cal Darden Sr., of Atlanta, has until Monday to provide several requirements – including 18 signed player agreements – for a game this Saturday night at San Juan Arena….

San Juan officials are desperate to start selling tickets, sources said. The global tour is slated to continue to London, Macau and Melbourne over the next two weeks. Players involved have agreements to pay them anywhere from a six-figure fee to more than $1 million for participation.

Puerto Rican promoters are still waiting on signed agreements from 10 of the 18 players expected to play in the game, a $12,500 payment to begin the sale of tickets and evidence of a global television package, sources said. The Puerto Rican Tourism company is paying a $750,000 host fee with the assistance of corporate sponsors, but one Puerto Rico source briefed on the details said the local government will not financially back the game without a broad television package.

Consider this a note to everyone out there saying “the players should just start their own league.” It’s not easy. At all. Lining up venues, television deals, contracts and the rest is complex. And that’s not even considering the marketing and all of the rest of the things the NBA platform brings to the players. The two sides have a partnership, if they would just realize it.


  1. skids003 - Oct 24, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    It takes some business sense to make this happen. Do any of these players have any business sense, other than how to “make it rain?”

  2. fouldwimmerlaik - Oct 24, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Yet another shock this must be to the arrogant players. Once again it is demonstrated that it is NOT all about them. I am sorry, but to those who constantly shout “Fans come to see the players, not the owners,” here is yet another example of how wrong you are. Fans come out to support teams, not players. They come out because they want their team to win, not to see an individual player win. The players are 100% replaceable, no matter who they are.

    Who wants to watch a bunch of arrogant, over-entitled, self-indulgent egomaniacs play an exhibition game (other than the NBA All-star game – which still has players representing TEAMS)? And what financial backer is going to risk their money betting on whether anyone cares? Nobody. No one.

    Come on, players, you are so intent on taking the profits of the owners who actually have money at risk (because the multi-millions of dollars per year you are already paid is just not enough for you), now is the time to put up or shut up. Put your own money behind this tour. Risk your own cash. Be on the hook if it loses money. Be like an owner and see how that sits with your ideal of the world that all of your money should be guaranteed.

    You won’t. I know it. Because you are arrogant, over-entitled, self-indulgent, egomaniacs who feel that the world owes you and you should just be given everything with no risk. Enjoy your season off.

  3. goforthanddie - Oct 24, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    These little amateur games will stop as soon as the season is lost completely.

  4. texmex2 - Oct 24, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    If the players started their own league they could also ADD another outside team to THEIR league, the Harlem Globetrotters’. Which would also show how moronic their pursuit of such (league) would factually be? @goforthanddie has it right the Owners should just cancel the whole seaon and come back next JULY & start over.

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