The first two Seagram's Coolers All-Star Basketball Classics were highlighted by talk of an NBA franchise coming back to San Diego. But this year, because Harry Cooper and Manny Jackson have essentially given up hope of acquiring a team, that talk has barely been heard.
Still, more than 10,000 tickets have been sold for the game which begins at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the San Diego Sports Arena. The only tickets remaining are being sold for $9 and $20.
So with a decent walk up gate, the game, which is benefitting Multiple Sclerosis, could still be a sellout for the second consecutive year.
Keith Padgett, executive director of the San Diego M.S. chapter, said a positive message could still be sent to the NBA office.
"If we don't sell out, we're definitely not a major league city," he said. "If you can't sell out one game a year, that doesn't say much for your chances of ever getting a team."
Tonight's featured attraction will be Chicago Bulls' guard Michael Jordan. Cliff Levingston, who may soon join Jordan on the Bulls' roster, is helping to organize the game for the third year in a row.
Roger Kirschenbaum, Levingston's agent, said his client has been seriously talking with the Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs. As an unrestricted free agent, Levingston, an eight-year pro, is eligible to sign with any NBA team.
Levingston, a graduate of Morse High, has spent the past six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. But Kirschenbaum said the Hawks are not even in the picture.
Other players who have agreed to play are: Herb Williams (Dallas), Mark Aguirre (Detroit), B.J. Armstrong (Chicago), Gary Grant and Danny Manning (Clippers), Sean Kemp (Seattle), Terry Porter (Portland), Reggie Miller and La Salle Thompson (Indiana), Olden Polynice (Seattle), Byron Scott (Lakers), Dominique Wilkins, Kenny Smith and Spud Webb (Atlanta), Wayman Tisdale (Sacramento) and Sidney Green and Reggie Theus (Orlando).
The Laker girls, the Phoenix Gorilla and the Charger Cheerleaders will also be providing entertainment.
A three-point shooting contest will take place at halftime and a slam dunk exhibition will be held after the game.