The Ultimate All-Star Weekend captivated Manila the past few days, with basketball-crazy fans packing the SMART-Araneta Coliseum to watch their favorite NBA idols compete against the best talents in the country.
But the event has garnered more than just the attention of the local audience.
Sam Amick of SI.com, the official website of Sports Illustrated magazine, called the event significant in the context of the current NBA lockout, alongside the recent signings of some NBA players to European teams, by proving that players can find financial opportunities overseas. It’s a way for players to have a little bit of leverage in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement with the league.
Amick reported that stars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose were paid over $400,000 apiece for their pair of appearances over the weekend.
But MVP Sports Foundation executive director Chot Reyes denied the figures cited by Amick, hinting that the real numbers were much lower. “Every player had a different contract as well,” Reyes added.
While Reyes would not divulge the exact figures, he was earlier quoted as saying that the event cost “between expensive and very expensive.”
Bryant is estimated to make around $25 million from the Los Angeles Lakers this season, which would amount $300,000 per NBA game. The difference, though, is that Bryant’s earnings in the Philippines would be tax-free as opposed to his regular NBA salary.
Durant should make around $13 million from the Oklahoma City Thunder this year, around half of what Bryant makes. Chicago Bulls star Rose, the current NBA Most Valuable Player, is still on his rookie contract and is set to make just $7 million from his team, which translates to just $85,000 per game. Both players would stand to make much more than what they would normally earn for a pair of NBA games, if the reported payouts were accurate.
Lockout talks between the NBA Players Association and the league’s owners are currently at a standstill and are not expected to resume until mid-to-late August. The two sides have not met since the lockout was declared official on July 1. Derek Fisher, the president of the NBPA, was part of the contingent that visited Manila.
Chris Paul, Tyreke Evans, James Harden, JaVale McGee and Derrick Williams completed the roster of the NBA players, dubbed the “SMART All-Stars” for the weekend.
InterAKTV is the sports news portal of TV5, which is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan, who also chairs the MVP Sports Foundation which organized the Ultimate All-Star Weekend event.