It's dubbed the "World All-Star Classic," a proposed series of six games over two weeks played on four continents. The expected headliners are Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Amar'e Stoudemire, among the NBA's best players and biggest stars. They're the guys who get the max contracts and TV commercials, the sneaker lines and endorsement deals.
They're also the guys who apparently couldn't care less about rank-and-file players, the bulk of the league's workforce.
These all-stars are sending several messages, each worse than the other. It's a far cry from the USO's "Hoop for Troops" tour, designed to entertain troops and their families. It also lacks the quaintness of the star-studded exhibitions across the nation.
No, this all-star tour looks like a selfish, self-centered money grab by the league's elite, oblivious to the tour's effect on their fellow players, labor negotiations and the general public.
Already among the game's highest-paid players, the all-stars reportedly will receive salaries ranging from six figures to $1 million. That's a poor show of solidarity with midlevel and minimum wage players. The all-stars are busy finalizing details of their tour, so they don't have time for a progress report on labor talks — which resumed Wednesday.
And with the economy still suffering and arenas scrambling to fill dates that were reserved for NBA games, flying off on a world tour is like a slap in the face to the average fan.
Basketball's international appeal has exploded in the two decades since the NBA Dream Team stampeded the 1992 Olympics. This all-star tour undoubtedly will draw huge crowds at its scheduled stops of San Juan, Puerto Rico; London; Macau; and Melbourne, Australia. It will be the first, real-life glimpse of NBA players for many who attend.
But no one around the globe would care about these games or players if not for the NBA, and getting the league back on track should be priority No. 1. President Obama has bigger issues on his plate, but he realizes the damage being done and wants it to end.
Putting an end to the "World All-Star Classic" is a good place to start. Here's hoping more players waver and come to their senses.