With the National Basketball Association season on hold because of a labor dispute, Alaska NBA players Carlos Boozer and Mario Chalmers and some of their friends are scheduled play an exhibition game Dec. 1 at Sullivan Arena.
"It's gonna be like a giant NBA all-star game in Alaska that has never been seen before," said Buddy Bailey of Alaska Hoops, Inc.
Bailey, a former Alaska high school star who went on to play at UAA, came up with the idea. He sent a text message to Chalmers' father, Ronnie Chalmers. After Chalmers made about 15 minutes of phone calls, he told Bailey he had six players interested and everything took off from there.
There are 19 players committed to playing, who will split into two teams and play each other in a 48-minute game, like a regulation NBA game.
Among those who Bailey said have agreed to play are Alaska's only two NBA players -- Chalmers of the Miami Heat (by way of Kansas and Bartlett High) and Boozer of the Chicago Bulls (by way of Duke and Juneau-Douglas), Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat and Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tickets go on sale this morning at 10 at ticketmaster.com and will also be on sale at Fred Meyer and the Sullivan Arena box office. They start at $25, with court-side tickets selling for $150.
"I'm guessing those will go really, really fast," Bailey said. "Real NBA court-side tickets usually go for a minimum of $600 or $700."
Bailey expects to fill all 7,987 seats at the Sullivan Arena. He said refunds will be offered if a majority of the players don't show up.
"We did sign contracts with every player," Bailey said. "They really don't have a whole lot else going on anyway. There is a certain mystique about Alaska. There are a lot of guys excited to come here."
Though most of the players will fly in the night before the game and leave the morning after, Bailey hopes the players will enjoy their experience in Anchorage.
"We're gonna show them how cool Alaska is, how much we love our state," Bailey said.
Bailey said the game will benefit two groups-- Alaska Hoops, Inc., which Bailey runs, and the Mario V. Chalmers Foundation. Bailey said his group raises funds for youth sports programs; the Chalmers Foundation supports community-based youth programs and runs Mario's Closet, a shop at Lawrence (Kan.) Memorial Hospital that provides free or low-cost items -- things like wigs, prosthetics and skin creams -- for cancer patients.