Damian Lillard is one of several NBA stars who was warned and reportedly threatened with suspension and financial fines about participating in a two-day basketball event in Manila in the Philippines.
Lillard has been in the Philippines for a few days now, touring the basketball-crazed country with several other stars. He has posted photos of him working at a clinic less than a day ago on his Instagram page.
Lillard, who is very involved with the Special Olympics, also posted photos of him meeting with Special Olympics athletes in Manila.
But, the NBA reportedly had an issue with the event in question, billed as “The Last Homestand,” that was put on by millionaire businessman and Philippines basketball supporter Manny V. Pangialinan.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that some players had agreed with local promoters to be paid $150,000 for a two-day appearance.
Other players on the tour of the Philippines included Houston’s James Harden, Blake Griffin of the L.A. Clippers, Portland-area product and current Toronto Raptor Terrence Ross and 2014 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
According to reports out of the Philippines, the event was meant to be tune-up event for the country’s national team, which includes NBA player Andray Blatche, ahead of the FIBA World Cup later on this summer in Spain.
The games were meant to be played after the clinics, according to the Spin.ph report.
The Yahoo! Sports report said that the exhibition would include “short scrimmages and games of ‘H.O.R.S.E.'”
Either way, the NBA apparently didn’t want it’s players participating in it.
The event was put on by Pangialinan, a business-man and supporter of basketball in the Philippines, who reportedly apologized earlier today at a press conference in Manila to fans who bought tickets for not getting the proper authorization for the event.
According to spin.ph, the same organizing group staged a similar event in 2011 during the NBA lockout which included Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose and Kobe Bryant. However, since it was during the lockout they did not need to seek official NBA approval for the event.
Players play in pick-up games, charity games and pro-am’s all over the country and world during the summer, but this one caught the ire of the NBA. Lillard’s Blazers teammate Nicolas Batum participated in Boris Diaw’s charity game in France just a few days ago.
The action of taking away a potential pay day for a two-day appearance won’t sit well with the players or agents, a source said.
It will be interesting to see how things like this will be remembered with a potential work stoppage looming after the 2016-17 season.
Meanwhile, franchises like the Kings, Bucks and Clippers have been sold for record prices just a few years after the owners were claiming record losses during the last work stoppage in 2011.