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    How have these 9 NBA stars been since 2011 Manila showcase?

    What happened to the nine NBA stars who played in the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend?
    Aug 4, 2020
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    NINE years ago, nine NBA players flew to the country and delivered a show like no other.

    Headlined by Kobe Bryant, the collection of stars figured in a two-game exhibition series called Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend in front of a packed Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    The large delegation of superstars was already a mean feat on its own, but for them to play a pair of games, first against the PBA All-Stars and then against the Smart Gilas national team, that's really something to watch for.

    That's something not everyone can see every day, especially with these players coming from different teams.

    But not in 2011, with the opportunity being presented as the NBA went on lockout, paving the way for this event to push through.

    It's no surprise why tickets sold like pancakes and everyone, from the common man to the VIPs like Manny Pacquiao and former president Joseph Estrada, came home with unwipeable smiles on their faces.


    Spin.ph takes a look at where those nine superstars are now.

    Kobe Bryant

    Already a five-time NBA champion, Bryant, the 2008 NBA MVP, served as the playing-coach for the Smart All-Stars and was easily the most recognizable among the bunch.

    'The Black Mamba' played for five more seasons but failed to capture the elusive sixth ring which would've tied him with legend Michael Jordan. He did cap off his career with a 60-point performance against the Utah Jazz for a fitting curtain call in 2016.

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    After his NBA career, Bryant continued his philantrophy and business ventures and even won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball, making him the first African American to take home the trophy.

    Unfortunately, in January 2020, he, together with his daughter Gianna and seven others, figured in a fatal helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Bryant was 41.

    Derrick Rose


    If Bryant was the headliner, Rose was absolutely a close no. 2.

    Before he came to the Philippines, the Chicago guard was coming off an MVP season in 2011 and steered the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in five games.

    Although Rose signed a five-year, $94.8 million extension on December 2011, it all went downhill from there as he tore his ACL in Game One of the NBA Playoffs in Chicago's series against Philadelphia and was never the same.

    Rose has since bounced around the league, moving to New York, Cleveland, Minnesota, and now, with the Detroit Pistons.

    Chris Paul


    One of the top point guards of that time and a member of the 'Redeem Team' from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Paul was the face of the New Orleans Hornets when he came to the country for the exhibition games.

    But on December 2011, he was part of a weird situation when NBA Commissioner David Stern nullified his move to the Los Angeles Lakers for "basketball reasons," and instead, moved to the Los Angeles Clippers, reaching only as far as the Western Conference Semifinals in his six seasons there.

    Paul was eventually traded to the Houston Rockets, forming a partnership with James Harden for two seasons before he was sent to Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Russel Westbrook in 2019.

    James Harden


    Harden was a budding player coming off of his sophomore season for Oklahoma City when he made the trip to the Philippines.

    In the ensuing season, he was named as the Sixth Man of the Year as he was a key part in the Thunder reaching the NBA Finals before losing to the Miami Heat in five games.

    The following offseason, OKC and Harden could not agree to an extension and 'The Beard' was soon shipped to Houston.

    He did cement himself as the face of the Rockets, winning the 2018 NBA MVP as he made the All-Star eight times, won the scoring title twice, and was included in the All-NBA First Team five times.

    Derek Fisher


    Fisher, already a five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, was at the twilight of his career when he joined the crew in 2011.

    The following season, he was traded to Houston but was eventually waived, leading to his signing with Oklahoma City and had one last Finals appearance, yet failed to cop ring no. 6.

    Fisher signed with Dallas in 2012 but was released soon after, returning to the Thunder until his retirement in 2014.

    He has since transitioned to a coaching role as he was named as the head coach of the New York Knicks from 2014 to 2016 and since 2019, his current gig at the helm of the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.

    Tyreke Evans


    After his Philippine trip, Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, spent two more seasons with Sacramento before it sent him to New Orleans.

    He spent four seasons with the Anthony Davis-led Pelicans from 2013 to 2017, before bouncing around the league with a return to the Kings and stops in Memphis and Indiana.

    In May 2019, Evans was banned from the NBA for violating its anti-drug program and will be eligible for re-instatement in 2021.


      Derrick Williams


      Williams was still high from being picked second overall in the 2011 NBA Draft when the Minnesota rookie joined the NBA delegation in Manila.

      The Arizona forward spent his first two seasons with the Timberwolves before he was traded to the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and lasted there until 2015. He soon signed with New York, Miami, and Cleveland, with his last NBA run being with the LA Lakers in 2018.

      Williams soon trekked the world, going to China with the Tianjin Gold Lions in 2017 and has since played for Bayern Munich in Germany and Fenerbahce in Turkey. He currently plays for Valencia Basket in Spain.

      JaVale McGee


      McGee's experience in the country was an unbelievable one and the Washington center certainly established himself as a fan-favorite in his performance in the two-game exhibition series.

      He was even considered to be a naturalization candidate and expressed his desire to play for Gilas Pilipinas, yet nothing really came out of it.

      In the NBA, McGee spent one more season with the Wizards before being traded to Denver in 2013. The Nuggets shipped him again in 2015 to the Philadelphia 76ers before signing with the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason.

      The 7-foot beanpole did win two NBA titles in his two seasons with the Golden State Warriors before inking a deal with the LA Lakers in 2018.

      Kevin Durant


      Already a two-time Scoring Champion, Durant was on his way to superstardom when he flew to the Philippines in 2011.

      He anchored Oklahoma City to the 2012 NBA Finals in the ensuing season, falling to Miami in five games but came back stronger, winning the 2014 NBA MVP award and adding two more scoring titles to his hardware.

      Durant, however, was diagnosed with a Jones fracture in his right foot the following season and could not help the Thunder break through in the 2016 NBA Playoffs, with his last run seeing OKC blow a 3-1 series lead to eventual champion Golden State in the Western Conference Finals.

      He stunned the world when he signed with the Warriors in the offseason, where he won two crowns and was named as the Finals MVP in both runs, yet could not complete the three-peat as he suffered an Achilles injury which led to them losing to the Toronto Raptors in six games of the 2019 NBA Finals.


      Durant went on to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in the offseason and remains on the road to recovery.



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        PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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