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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Charities Hit by NBA Stoppage

NEW YORK -- Wheelchair-bound hospital patients could become the unwitting victims of the National Basketball Association's lockout.


Though the 12-day-old work stoppage would have to drag on for three months before the league's millionaire players miss a paycheck, the labor strife could force the postponement or cancellation of four of the biggest summer charity basketball games around the United States, in New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to NBA spokesman Jan Hubbard.


Because of the lockout, the NBA commissioner's office decided there can be no interaction between players and management, meaning charity games involving NBA players cannot be held in venues owned by NBA teams.


Monday, the league notified organizers of Magic Johnson's 10th annual benefit game that they may not hold their event at The Great Western Forum later this month, and that Johnson, who owns a piece of the Los Angeles Lakers, may not be involved in any manner.


Ben Garrett, the director of Chicago-based foundation Boyz From The Hood, had arranged for 25 NBA players to play in a benefit game for several charities in Cleveland's Gund Arena. Garrett was forced to cancel the event when he was informed by the league eight days prior to the game that it could not be held there.


Garrett said Tuesday his organization, which helps raise money to support sports programs in Chicago's cash-strapped public schools, not only is out the money it would have raised through the game, but also could lose close to $100,000 it spent to organize and promote the event.


"The whole thing is a shame and I'm still in shock,'' he said. "You just don't know what kind of toll it could take on the smaller charities. They are the silent victims in all of this.''


Organizers are going ahead with plans for the New York game and crossing their fingers that the labor situation will be resolved soon.


Over the past three years, the event has raised more than $200,000 to help buy motorized wheelchairs and other transportation for hospital patients.


Meanwhile, in court, as opposed to on-court, maneuvering continues.


Attorneys for dissident players attempting to decertify the players' union filed for a preliminary injunction and added nine players to the original seven who first brought the class action.


Joining the original group headed by Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing were Scottie Pippen, Eric Murdock, Scott Skiles, Jim McIlvaine, Tim Hardaway, Lindsay Hunter, P.J. Brown, Don MacLean and Doug West.


Their lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, speaking by conference call, said the injunction, filed with district judge David Doty in Minneapolis, seeks a hearing Sept. 6.


At the same time, the players withdrew their unfair labor practice charge of failing to bargain because the National Labor Relations Board said it could affect the timing of the decertification vote.


The NBA didn't seemed fazed by Kessler's actions.


"Mr. Kessler represented to our players that there would not be a lockout. That advice was wrong,'' deputy commissioner Russ Granik said. "His advice to our players about the impact of decertification is just as wrong.''


(Newsday, AP)