Knicks 'zzone

Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.

Melo, Amar'e to play in 'Obama Classic' on Dec. 12

For those who hoped the White House might step in and help resolve the NBA lockout, it appears President Barack Obama may instead benefit from it.

A basketball game, called the "Obama Classic," is being organized for Dec. 12 as a fundraiser for the president's re-election campaign, the Obama Victory Fund. Seats for the event start at $100 and go to as high as $5,000 for a courtside seat. Remember, this is a fundraiser, so this would be a donation.

According to Obama's website, the event has several NBA stars already committed to attend, including the Knicks duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire.

Others who are on the list include Chris Paul (should we have included him among the Knicks stars at this point?), Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, John Wall and Derek Fisher, who is also the now-defunct union's president.

Also on the list of event participators includes Knicks legend Patrick Ewing, who is expected to join fellow Georgetown greats Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo, plus Reggie and Cheryl Miller and Celtics coach Doc Rivers. What remains to be seen is if the NBA will allow Rivers and Ewing, an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic, to be part of an event that involves locked out NBA players.

The game is being planned for Washington D.C. but has yet to select a venue. The Verizon Center in downtown D.C. is not available because lockout rules prohibit players from using an NBA arena.

Obama is a passionate basketball fan (and still plays pick-up ball when he can) who has kept tabs on the ongoing NBA lockout. In October, he told Jay Leno he was "a little heartbroken" by the prospect of lost games this season.

Lost games, however, would allow stars to appear in this game. That is, unless there is a sudden change of heart and owners and players are able to get something done in time to preserve the coveted Christmas Day schedule. Commissioner David Stern said the league would need 30 days from a deal to start the season, which means the next week is vital to the slim possibilities of having those Christmas Day games.
 

Tags: Barack Obama , NBA , White House , Knicks , Amar'e Stoudemire , Carmelo Anthony , Patrick Ewing , Celtics , Doc Rivers , Georgetown , lockout

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