Stronger NBA Selection coming
MANILA, Philippines–An even stronger selection of former National Basketball Association superstars will strut their stuff against their counterparts from the Philippine Basketball Association later this month. Gary Payton, Seattle’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals, will be coming in together with former Miami Heat gunslinger Glen Rice, ex-Sacramento King Mitch Richmond and ex-NCAA great and Philadelphia big man Chris Webber. Along with some members of the NBA’s D-League, they will be merged with the PBA Legends and current stars to make up two teams that will play against each other on August 27 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao. Benjie Paras, the only player ever to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same year, Ronnie Magsanoc, former Crispa great Atoy Co and four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio are the Filipino legends. San Miguel’s Dondon Hontiveros and Arwind Santos and Derby Ace rookie Rico Maierhofer are also in the team. Former Talk ‘N Text import Richie Frahm, Darnell Lazare of the Maine Red Claws, Mark Tyndale of Iowa Energy and Chris McCray of the Sioux Falls Sky Force are the D-League standouts who will see action. The event is being organized by Solar TV with the NBA and the PBA as partners. Tickets will be priced as low as P264 up to P2640. This will mark the second straight year that a selection of former NBA greats will be coming over since the “Human Highlight Film,” Dominique Wilkins and Co. played a PBA selection. In that team were Serbian Vlade Divac, Tim Hardaway and Robert Horry, with Kareem Abdul Jabbar acting as coach for the squad that ripped the PBA Selection 109-86. The squad that will come later this month is without a doubt much younger with the nucleus of the core having seen NBA action, like Payton, as late as 2006. Rice, who also won a world championship with Los Angeles in 2000, was active until six years ago. “We’re bringing in an extremely accomplished group,” said Ed Winkle, the senior director for business development of NBA Asia. The core of the NBA Legends has a total of 23 All-Star selections between them and all have tasted championships, save for Webber, a member of Michigan’s Fab Five who won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year title in 1994. Webber, while playing for Golden State, was also the NBA’s first rookie ever to make more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 blocks and 75 steals before going on to average 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 831 games in his career. Payton, nicknamed “The Glove” for his defense, also has a glittering NBA resume. The 6-foot-1 guard entered the league in 1990 and made the All-Star team nine times and the all-NBA and NBA all-Defensive team the same number of occasions in a career that had him winning a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. Payton scored 21,813 points, had 8,996 assists and 2,445 steals in 17 years. Not only that, the NBA’s top Defensive Player in 1996 is also regarded, even several years after retirement, as the league’s greatest ever trash-talker.