Five former NBA stars, including Jason “White Chocolate” Williams, are ready to entertain Indonesian fans when they play in the 2012 National Basketball League All-Star Games.
Williams, Vin Baker, Duane Causewell, Ricky Pierce and Charles Smith will team up with the 20 best players of the NBL, chosen by fans in an online vote, in two games: at C-Tra Arena in Bandung on Wednesday, and at Surabaya’s DBL Arena on Saturday. All of them are members of the US Professional Basketball Alumni Association.
This is not the first time the NBL organizer, Indonesia’s Development Basketball League, has invited NBA stars to the country, but it will be the first time they play in All-Star games.
Last year, Smith came to Indonesia to play in the NBL Indonesia Challenge along with Cedric Ceballos and a few other former NBA players. Smith said he remembered the enthusiasm of fans at the event.
“The fans were crazy and they got into it,” he said on Tuesday. “I promised to return to Indonesia and I made it. I remember Dimaz Muharri did a 360 lay-up last year. I expect nothing less and it will be an exciting game tomorrow.”
The CLS Knights’ Dimaz had the most votes to play guard on the All-Star team.
Smith, who serves as chief executive of the Professional Basketball Alumni Association, said he hoped the game would benefit both sides.
“We use basketball as bridge,” the former New York Knicks player said. “We’ll teach each other, talk about basketball. And before we leave, I want to make sure that both parties take something away from each other.”
Williams is the most-awaited player in the event. He started his NBA career with the Sacramento Kings and was known for his spectacular passing and assists.
The 36-year-old point guard, who helped the Miami Heat win its first title in 2006 and retired as a Memphis Grizzlies player last year, said he wanted to entertain the crowd but still win the game.
“I just want to have fun, and hopefully my team wins because I don’t like losing,” he said. “So, we’ll see.”
Before the All-Star event, the former NBA players had a coaching clinic and meet-and-greet event with about 100 children in Jakarta on Monday.
Williams shared his tricks in ball handling and seemed to enjoy his time with the children.
“I like how the kids all have fun and smile,” he said. “Even if they messed up, they still laughed. I like that.”