THE biggest delegation of NBA stars to hit this basketball-crazy country will arrive on Monday morning, three days before the historic preseason game between the Houston Rockets and the Indiana Pacers at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Indiana Pacers, led by acknowledged franchise player Paul George who recently signed a multi-million contract extension with the team, and a Rockets side to be led by new boy Dwight Howard will arrive on separate flights to kick off the festivities leading up to the first NBA game to be staged in Manila.
Interestingly, the Manila trip will serve as some sort of reunion for Boston Celtics legends Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. Bird will be at the head of the Indiana delegation as Pacers president while McHale is the coach of the Rockets.
The two Boston icons will be visiting Manila three years after former Lakers rival and fellow Hall of Famer, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, arrived for the NBA Asia Challenge.
NBA Global Games Philippines 2013 tips off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena and before the big day, the Pacers and the Rockets will get to know Manila a little better even as they conduct their practices in earnest for the historic NBA event in Southeast Asia.
Members of the two teams are scheduled to make trips around the city and drop in on neighborhood basketball courts. They will also conduct several NBA Cares activities for local kids at the Mall of Asia Arena and in selected neighborhood basketball courts.
The NBA will also host a clinic for local basketball coaches at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday to be graced by members of the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers coaching staff. The free coaching development program is supported by the NBA and is open to all coaches of any level.
Interested coaches may register by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NBA Global Games will see eight NBA teams play in eight cities in six countries this October. The schedule – which will also feature the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards - will also include the first-ever NBA preseason game in Brazil, and in the cities of Bilbao, Spain, and Manchester, England.
It will also include games in Beijing, Istanbul, Shanghai, and Taipei.