Mon Nov 21 11:00am EST
Carmelo Anthony(notes) and Chris Paul(notes) may have been the odd men out one year ago when LeBron James(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) decided to pair their talents in Miami, but the most famous members of the NBA's new buddy-buddy-buddy-buddy line of thinking will get to share the court together in a just announced series of charity games.
Titled "The Homecoming Tour," all four players will organize combination charity game/food drives/basketball clinics in James' native Akron, Ohio, Wade's hometown of Chicago, Chris Paul's adopted city of New Orleans, and Anthony's "not really, but close'ish to New York" burgh of East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Events begin Nov. 29 in New York with a court dedication and food drive, before the group moves to Akron for events the following day that include a Wheels for Education program—something James is extensively involved with in an effort to help keep kids from dropping out of high school—and a basketball clinic at the Boys & Girls Club bearing the two-time NBA MVP's name.
"I am really proud of the work we're doing in Akron and know what this tour means for the community," James said.
Paul will host an education-themed event and a clinic in New Orleans on Dec. 2, in advance of the game there two nights later. Wade hosts two events for charity in Chicago on Dec. 6, and another clinic is planned for New York on Dec. 9.
Whatever you think of charity games and exhibition basketball "contests" -- we think they're bloody awful -- nothing but good can come of this.
Sure, stars will likely drop out from time to time, and there might be a few late nights the evening before the actual events, but any appearance, any dollar raised, and any amount of stay-in-shape work remains a good thing as the lockout drones on and on. Reynolds notes that each of the players involved has been working out intensively in Oregon over the last few weeks.
Plus, the corporate sponsors, I'm sure, won't be too upset. There is that very popular shoe company based in Oregon to think of, and Google Plus will sponsor and stream the events live.
Visit the tour's website for more information on ticket purchases and venues for the events. Ball Don't Lie will likely be at the Chicago performance on December 7th, provided we personally sell out quite a bit between now and then.