June 10, 2010: If Nike has anything to say about it, New Yorkers and hoops fans could get a sneak peek at what a team with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would look like. The trio could come to New York as part of the first World Basketball Festival, a four-day hoops and entertainment event being planned by Nike and USA Basketball.
The three are among a free agent list of NBA players being coveted by the New York Knicks and other teams. Although it was not indicated which players would be part of the World Basketball Festival, James, Wade and Bosh are on the official USA Basketball roster, along with such stars as Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, O.J. Mayo and Lamar Odom. Head coach is Mike Krzyewski of Duke.
In addition, James, Wade and Bosh all endorse Nike, as do Bryant, Paul, Durant, Odom and Anthony.
USA Basketball will use the the World Basketball Festival, scheduled for Aug. 12-15, as a tune-up for the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Championship in Turkey Aug. 28-Sept. 12. The New York event is also scheduled to feature the squads from France, China and Puerto Rico that will be participating in the World Basketball Championships. The World Basketball Festival concludes Aug. 15 with an exhibition double-header featuring the U.S. versus France and China versus Puerto Rico at famed Madison Square Garden. The entire U.S. roster is expected to be intact for the game at Madison Square Garden.
The U.S. team also is scheduled to play pre-World Basketball Championship games against Lithuania (Aug. 21) and Spain (Aug. 22) both in Madrid, Spain, and Greece in Athens (Aug. 25).
Nike said the World Basketball Festival would incorporate its basketball divisions: Converse, Jordan Brand and Nike Basketball. Among the hoops events will be games played on a court to be built in New York's Times Square and the legendary basketball courts at Rucker Park in Harlem.
Rucker Park will host practices, scrimmages and training by Brazil and Puerto Rico and France. There also will be performances by international music acts, a grassroots youth tournament and clinics for fans.
Nike said it plans to hold the World Basketball Festival every two years.
"The World Basketball Festival will be an unforgettable event for the people of New York City and basketball fans around the world," Charlie Denson, Nike Brand president, said in a statement. "Every two years we plan to connect the global world of basketball to celebrate the sport while leaving a lasting legacy within the community.”
In addition, Nike said it would use the World Basketball Festival to launch its "United We Rise" initiative, intended "to improve communities through basketball." Over the next two years, Nike said it would partner with USA Basketball and New York's Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City Housing Authority to support youth programming and the installation and refurbishment of basketball courts at 25 community centers throughout New York City.
“We’re thrilled with the opportunity to bring the energy and excitement of USA Basketball’s Men’s National Team to fans and give them with a way to celebrate their team,” Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman, said in a statement. “We are honored to have the opportunity to represent the United States in the FIBA World Championship and I can’t think of a better sendoff for our team than the World Basketball Festival.”