For the second time in less than a year, NBA fans in Alaska will have to live with disappointment.
Next week's all-star game headlined by Anchorage's Mario Chalmers has been canceled. Sullivan Arena announced Tuesday that the Aug. 3 game, billed as the Mario V Chalmers Foundation Charity NBA Game, won't be played.
"It's a bummer, I would have really loved to have seen it," said Anchorage's Buddy Bailey, who made an attempt to organize a similar event last November, only to watch the idea fall apart when an NBA labor dispute was resolved and previously committed players backed out.
Bailey, who wasn't involved in the organization of next week's event, said Chalmers' father Ronnie Chalmers was managing everything this time. Bailey wasn't surprised to hear things didn't work out, because he learned last winter how difficult it can be to round up NBA players.
"Those guys all got big lives they are living," Bailey said. "It sounds like for the most part, like they just couldn't get commitments from guys."
The game was supposed to be a showcase for Chalmers, a Bartlett High graduate who helped the Miami Heat win the NBA championship this summer.
Sullivan Arena director of marketing Tanya Pont said last week that Chalmers' foundation had yet to supply a roster of players who would join Chalmers in the game. The Chalmers Foundation didn't provide specific reasons for the cancellation.
"I am awaiting more detailed information from the foundation," Pont said in an email.
Customers who purchased via Charge-by-Phone or the Web will be automatically credited with a refund on the card used for purchase. Outlet customers (Fred Meyer or Sullivan Arena box office) will need to go back to the store where they purchased, starting Wednesday.
Though organizing big celebrity talent from Outside is a challenge, Bailey said he knew the NBA was on board for the Chalmers all-star game.
"Ronnie had the full backing of the NBA, to allow him to run a game up here and have their blessing," he said.
Bringing NBA players is something that needs to eventually happen, Bailey said, and it's something he will continue to pursue.
"I have a couple of connections with Karl Malone and A.C. Green, but with Mario having so much success right now, that makes this a great time to get him involved."
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
By JEREMY PETERS
Anchorage Daily News