Tag: Miami

LeBron James

Winderman: Charity games show fans’ passion, market to see NBA elite

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How intense is the demand from the NBA market for product?

Tickets to the Saturday lockout exhibition at Florida International University that LeBron James is helping promote sold out within two hours Monday.

Even though there were no on-line or phone sales, and even though some windows at the school’s box office only took cash for the tickets priced at $50 and $100.

How intense is the demand from the NBA secondary market for product?

Even before the tickets went on sale, they already were being offered for resale by some outlets, with prices posted as high as $500 while ticket sales still were under way. Now Stubhub has them listed for $1,700 a pop.

Granted, selling tickets in a 5,000-seat arena for a game featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony is different than trying to sell 17,000 seats in Sacramento to see the Kings play. And, granted, these exhibitions hardly have gone off smoothly, with a reported counterfeiting issue at Chris Paul’s game in Winston-Salem, N.C., this past weekend the latest snafu.

But what games such as these show is the players, at least in limited quantity, can market their own game, can push their own product.

In this case, proceeds will go to the charity organized by Florida International coach Isiah Thomas in honor of his late mother.

If anything, it should send another signal to those negotiating in New York of just how passionate the following is for their games and their stars. And how it is the stars who truly drive the product.

For years, offseason charity exhibitions had annually been staged at the Heat’s arena, with interest not quite as robust as what was witnessed Monday at the school on the west side of Miami.

Yet Monday, those negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement in New York were dealing with proposals on how to trim the league’s highest salaries.

Tuesday, many earning those highest salaries will be back at the side of union boss Billy Hunter, facing down the owners who have taken the attitude that this is their game, their product, their show.

In a perfect world, Saturday’s exhibition will serve as a climax to the lockout exhibition season, before players return to training camps.

Otherwise, it will stand as a reminder of how deep the passion for the game, and particularly the game’s elite, runs among fans, as those $50 and $100 tickets are scalped for prices that exceed those of even the real games.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Having a Nitecap with Ron Artest by a Miami pool

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers
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NBC Miami has one of those shows you can only do at NBC Miami — Nitecap with Peter Bailey. Where a celebrity rolls up to a Miami pool after hours and just hangs with the host talking whatever for a few minutes, then hits the club.

Although, this is Ron Artest, so we’re sure he skipped the club and went back to his room to study game tape with Kobe… oh, no he went to the club. But he didn’t drink, so that is not why he shot 4-of-11 in the game against Miami.

As for the Nitecap, Artest talks a little Lakers, some about the evolution of his image, his push for mental health programs, and a lot of music, like how he wants to record with Queens guy Prodigy (this Prodigy, not The Prodigy, although that would be interesting, too).

Kobe plays down his post-game workout in Miami

Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat

“It’s my job,” he said. “You’ve got to work at it.”

Vintage Kobe Bryant quote to Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register that sums up why he was shooting baskets in AmericanAirlines Arena two hours after the Lakers had lost to the Heat. A game where Kobe faltered — he shot 2-of-11 in the second half, forced some shots and got stripped by Dwyane Wade late in the game. Those kind of things eat at Kobe more than most players.

Kobe has athletic gifts, make no mistake. But what separates him has always been his drive and competitiveness. This workout was simply an extension of that. Let Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo explain.

Hours later, when asked about his motivation in a text message, Bryant responded with the words of Achilles: “I want what all men want. I just want it more.”

You can say this was a message to the Heat that if they meet again — and that may not happen as both teams have formidable obstacles between them and the matchup ABC television executives want for the NBA finals — but after the workout Kobe played it down.

“Just trying to get better, that’s all,” Bryant said…

He was light-hearted after his extra workout session with three ball boys passing to him and rebounding for him, not angry or frustrated. He did allow that he was thinking about the loss but said it was more a big-picture thing: “It’s really not a big deal to me. Just working on different things. Just gotta keep on doin’ it….

“It’s good to get one (workout) in tonight and get some rest,” Bryant said. “Have a good day of travel tomorrow and be ready Saturday (vs. Dallas).”

Saturday is another big game for the Lakers where Kobe may be asked to make big plays down the stretch. He may falter again. But it will not be for lack of preparation.