The Best Matchup Of The ‘NBA World Tour’

Those lucky Puerto Ricans. Oh well, we can’t really complain. We’ve had “Capital Punishment” (check out our latest issue – Dime #66 – for a behind-the-scenes recap), “The Big Payback,” that crazy Chris Paul charity game and even stuff like this past weekend when Michael Beasley nearly went for 60. As boring as the lockout’s been, we can be thankful for those games. But the NBA World Tour – as we’ve dubbed it – would exceed all of that in star power. We’re talking USA Baskeball Team-like star power. We’re talking Kobe vs. LeBron. We’re talking taking the game to people across the world who’ll treat each encounter as a once-in-a-lifetime event. Could it all start this Saturday night at San Juan Arena in Puerto Rico?

The 18 confirmed players, reported by Primera Hora (translation from HoopsHype) are: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derrick Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Tyson Chandler, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Chris Kaman, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

While Primera Hora contends they had access to the official roster, numerous outlets – like Yahoo! Sports – had previously reported “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.” Puerto Rican promoters said they would not starting selling tickets – potentially falsely advertising – until they were sure which players were going to show up. If those details were not worked out, Bryant was almost assuredly out of at least the first game, and if that Saturday night game in Puerto Rico is canceled, then it could have larger implications on the rest of the tour.

The rest of the tour includes stops in London for two games, one in Macau, and two back-to-back games in Australia to end the whole run on November 9. Each arena will be able to seat at least 15,000 people.

If the details were worked out, and the official roster report is true, then what would make the best game? Here’s the matchup we’d want to see:

Team 1
LeBron James – Starter
Dwyane Wade – S
Rajon Rondo – S
Amar’e Stoudemire – S
Kevin Durant – S
Chris Kaman
Russell Westbrook
Carlos Boozer
Chris Bosh

Kobe Bryant S
Carmelo Anthony – S
Derrick Rose – S
Blake Griffin – S
Chris Paul – S
Kevin Garnett
Tyson Chandler
Kevin Love
Paul Pierce

As we said in Smack, getting what we want – everyone going hard, defense, rebounding, players taking the one-on-one challenges – is stupid to even contemplate. It won’t happen in any NBA All-Star Game, and it damn sure won’t happy on some worldwide basketball tour. But as we saw at the last Olympic tune-up, during the intra-squad scrimmage, guys can go hard enough that there could be some drama.

Which team would win? What teams would you want to see?

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