Tickets restricted for NBA All-Star Game | Inquirer Sports
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Tickets restricted for NBA All-Star Game

/ 12:01 AM February 16, 2015

The world’s most glorified version of street ball—the NBA All Star Game—will be played at New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden on Sunday night (Monday morning in Manila).

Led by immensely popular stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, John Wall and Carmelo Anthony, this year’s game will be no different from the past 63 editions.

Defensive effort will be out the window and the focus will be on explosive offenses to excite NBA fans from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

What used to be an afternoon exhibition battle between the Western and Eastern conferences has since been stretched to five days of fanfare to serve as nonstop advertisement of the league’s worldwide appeal.

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But the most thrilling part of the festivities—the Slam Dunk contest Saturday night at Barclays Center and the All Star Game itself on Sunday night at the Garden—are restricted to countless fans who want to see the action live.

That’s because for the fifth year in a row, tickets are not for public sale. Only a limited number are up for grabs to diehards who can shell out $2,000 (about P88,600) a pop.

The New York Times reported that “two thirds of the available seating or more than 10,000 tickets” at the Garden have been claimed by the NBA for distribution to “its long list of broadcast and marketing partners, other affiliates, players, the players’ association and the NBA alumni.”

The Times also said that “close to 20 percent of the seats at both arenas were claimed to accommodate production and staging needs for the TV broadcasts and to make room for a large news media contingent.”

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The rest of the tickets said the Times was also taken by the league to divvy up among its 30 teams which are in turn  “distributed to fans and others, with the Knicks and the Nets getting special dispensation.”

With TV as the ultimate venue to enjoy the All-Star Game, the NBA is now testing virtual reality cameras to provide fans with “realistic immersive experience,” says Jeff Marsilio, the league’s vice president for global media distribution.

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Marsilio told a technology journal that virtual reality cameras will offer access to dramatic moments on the court and get TV fans in places they “could not buy a ticket for and will make them feel like they’re there.”

* * *

From the countless stories out there in the naked city last week, I chose to write about chess wunderkind Wesley So.

Boy, did I hit a nerve among Prospero Pichay Jr.’s detractors who pin the blame on the local chess federation president for So’s switch of loyalty from Philippine to American chess.

I, too, was criticized by social media-based, coy crusaders bothered by a yarn that I am cozy with Mr. Pichay.

The tall tale caused a commotion on Facebook and earned me my share of tongue-lashing from the band of keyboard warriors.

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But it was par for the course as I continue to connect the dots about sports personalities, events and issues.

TAGS: Basketball, NBA, NBA All-Star Game

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