(MIAMI, CBS 4) — It has been 21 years since South Florida hosted an NBA All-Star Game. Because of the NBA lockout, that drought could change. While the real thing is not on the horizon in the league’s long-range planning, ESPN is reporting that Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will team up to present a lockout pro-am all-star game Oct. 8 at Florida International University.
James has spent much of the offseason barnstorming with a series of locked out NBA stars, participating in exhibitions in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Washington and, most recently, this past Sunday in Philadelphia. He also is scheduled to appear with Wade at an Oct. 1 exhibition in Winston-Salem, N.C., that is being presented by New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul.
Wade and Bosh, by contrast, have spent the offseason and lockout largely pursuing off-court interests.
That apparently will change, with formal announcement of the exhibition at FIU expected to be made Wednesday. A message left with Florida International University Athletic Director Pete Garcia by the Sun Sentinel was not immediately returned.
According to ESPN, among those committing to the event are the Heat’s star trio, plus Paul, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, New York Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, Atlanta Hawks free-agent guard Jamal Crawford and Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay.
Many of those same players had appeared in previous years at the annual Summer Groove game at AmericanAirlines Arena, an event canceled this year with NBA facilities off limits to players during the lockout.
However, Florida International University has become somewhat of a South Florida lockout hub this offseason, with Stoudemire and several other NBA stars training there.
The NBA players’ union, in fact, had scheduled a union update for Tuesday in Miami because of the presence of so many NBA players in South Florida. That session was postponed due to the resumption of labor negotiations in New York.
The lone time South Florida has hosted an official NBA All-Star Game was in 1990 at Miami Arena. Hotel conflicts for President’s Weekend and the Miami boat show have been cited among reasons for the lack of a return engagement.
During the 1998 NBA lockout, then-Heat guard Tim Hardaway organized an all-star game at the north campus of Miami-Dade Community College, a largely disorganized event that had many of the scheduled players declining to participate. By contrast, most of the pro-am exhibitions scheduled this summer have had a much higher degree of organization.
Source: CBS Miami