MANILA, Philippines – Lebron James of the Miami Heat has arrived in the country just as when President Benigno Aquino III was wrapping up his State of the Nation Address late Monday afternoon.
James stole some of the spotlight on President Aquino as the social media networking site Twitter started to be flooded with tweets about his arrival.
ABS-CBN correspondent and local NBA coverage analyst TJ Manotoc was the first to break the news of James’ arrival on Twitter followed by a series of photos of James posted by GMA News reporter Mark Zambrano on his Instagram account.
Lhen Hasal, Media Relations manager of Ogilvy PR which handles Nike Philippines, confirmed the news to Philstar.com in a text message.
James and his entourage arrived at around 5:45 p.m. on board a private jet. They went straight to Shangri-La Hotel in Makati where he is billeted and is scheduled to meet the press Tuesday morning.
James, who led the Heat to their second straight championship last month, will visit the Nike Park in Bonifacio High Street after the press conference before conducting a skills training with selected local Nike Basketball endorsers at the Mall of Asia Arena at 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon dubbed as “Witness History”.
Meanwhile, online scalpers are still making a killing on the free tickets handed out by Nike Philippines last week.
The demand is getting higher even as local celebrities want to get a hand on the most sought after tickets that is now being sold to as much as Php 10,000 online. One of them is actress-model Isabelle Daza, who posted on her Twitter account that she’s looking for tickets to James’ first ever event in the country for her nephew.
James is the first of the wave of NBA superstars who will make a visit to the country this year.
After the four-time NBA MVP, James Harden of Houston Rockets and Eric Gordon of the New Orleans Pelicans will be arriving next to grace the NBA 3X event this weekend at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall.
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, will return to the country for the sixth time, this time to help Lenovo launch its latest batch of smart phones on August 12.
Chicago Bull’s Derrick Rose will also be coming for his D-Rose Tour arranged by Adidas on September 14-16 while Harden will bring along his new teammate Dwight Howard and American-Asian sensation Jeremy Lin on October 10 for the first ever NBA pre-season game in the country at the Mall of Asia Arena against Paul George and his Indiana Pacers.