Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose paid $400K each for Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend appearance
The current stars of the NBA sure aren’t acting like a bunch of dejected victims during this whole crazy lockout. With the unique and unusual opportunity to just let things ride and experience new things players are making it known that they can and will profit in untapped and emerging markets that the World of basketball now has to offer.
This enjoyment of the game and validation, if you will, that it is indeed a “player’s game” was all the more demonstrated this past Saturday and Sunday when some of the premiere stars in our beloved NBA took their talents to the Island of the Philippines to suit up in a highly anticipated All-Star exhibition series.
The games, dubbed the “Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend”, featured the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, James Harden, Derek Fisher, JaVale McGee, Derrick Williams and Tyreke Evans.
The NBA stars played host to a chorus of screams and chants, the crowd seemingly giddy with appreciation that these well-named NBA players would grace their home with such an event.
For their troubles some of the most popular counterparts in Bryant, Durant and Rose pocketed a cool, tax-free $400K each for their work. Not bad for coming in on the weekend.
So while the owners sit back in their plush, high-rise offices with their arms crossed arrogant and oblivious to their true place in the pecking order of all of this, the players do what they do. They keep playing and guess what? Fans of basketball follow and if not the players travel to the remote places where those fans are.
These exhibition games held in Manila this weekend were almost a not-so-subtle shot to the establishment that nothing will stand in the way of the game. Fans will find it and likewise players will play even if they have to go halfway around the World to do so.
If David Stern and company were smart they would realize that although they have surely lost out on many fans here in the States due to the lockout, the hunger for seeing NBA stars is still ripe and alive around the Globe.
But if not, Kobe and friends will keep finding places to play and countless people that will pay to watch them do just that.
For they are the product and quite beautifully finished mind you.
Below are some highlights from the exhibition. Keep in mind some of the quality is not the best, however it is solid enough to appreciate the time that was had during the event.