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NBA All-Stars come to Oklahoma City for Sunday's exhibition

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: October 22, 2011

Commissioner David Stern prefers not to publicly discuss potential host cities for the NBA All-Star Game.

But on Oct. 29, 2008, the night the Thunder made its league debut after the franchise relocated from Seattle, Stern said he did not see an NBA All-Star Game coming to Oklahoma City in the foreseeable future.

This city is miserably short on hotel rooms and limousines.

Build a couple of hotels the size of the Devon tower and lure a couple hundred limos up from Dallas and, heck, anything is possible.

Barring that, today's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant is the city's best chance to host so many All-Stars.

The contest begins at 6 p.m. inside the Cox Convention Center. Roughly 1,400 tickets remain available at $29, $39, $59 and $89. The game will be shown live on the Cox Channel (Cox cable channels 3 and 703).

Six players from last year's All-Star Game have committed to play — Durant and Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.

A seventh All-Star, former Oklahoma standout and reigning rookie of the year Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, was going to participate, but cut his foot while swimming in the ocean and will not be in attendance.

Also committed to play are James Harden and Kendrick Perkins of the Thunder, former Thunder player Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics, Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Jamal Crawford and Damien Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks, Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jonny Flynn of the Houston Rockets and a late addition, Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors.

Sunday is Day 115 of the NBA lockout and with little hope for a new collective bargaining agreement anytime soon, there's a chance this could be the last NBA exhibition game on American soil this year.

Durant has toured half the globe playing exhibition games this offseason — from China, to the Philippines, to Rucker Park in Harlem, to his native Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, to Miami, to North Carolina, to Philadelphia and today, finally, to OKC.

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