The Norman Transcript

Community Sports

October 20, 2011

Griffin to miss gathering of all-stars in OKC

US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational still full of big names

NORMAN — It was going to be billed as Team Durant vs. Team Griffin. It had all the makings for a battle of Oklahoma (or a Red River Rivalry).

Unfortunately, Blake Griffin has bowed out of Sunday’s US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational, scheduled for 6 p.m. inside the Cox Convention Center in Oklahom City. Griffin has an injury, according to invitational officials.

“It is really unfortunate for the event that Blake will not be able to play,” event spokesman Desmond Mason said. “He is bummed out and obviously everyone wanted him to be here.”

The game will still include Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and John Wall.

“We have roughly ten all-stars on tap to play in the event and are moving forward,” Mason said. “We have five more names to be announced that are top 50 players.”

Players just added include LaMarcus Aldridge and Oklahoma City’s Kendrick Perkins and James Harden. Other confirmed players include Jamal Crawford, Michael Beasley, Damien Wilkins and Johnny Flynn.

NBA players have been barnstorming across the nation, playing charity games during the NBA lockout. Most of the contests have been held in smaller gyms with less star power. The Cox Center will be the biggest venue to date.

 “This is an opportunity for our fans to show the world that Oklahoma City is deserving of an all-star bid in the future,” Mason said.

The game will be available to Cox Cable subscribers (Cox 3 and 703) and online through The Basketball Channel ( Mike Wolfe and Rod Thompson will call the event.

A portion of ticket proceeds and auctioned jersey sales will benefit non-profit groups selected by Durant and Griffin.

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