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Obama to Join Michael Jordan for Star-Studded Basketball Fundraiser

By Jill Colvin | August 21, 2012 1:54pm

NEW YORK CITY — President Barack Obama and some of basketball’s biggest stars will duke it out Wednesday when the president’s “Obama Classic” rolls into town — snarling traffic during the evening rush.

Basketball legends Michael Jordan, Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving and Alonzo Mourning are among those who will be on hand for a trio of star-studded events where some lucky donors will get the chance to test their game against the NBA stars.

“Hit the court with Patrick Ewing and Melo? Trade stories with the president? This is the kind of stuff your kids will tell their kids, and no one will believe it until you show them a photo,” Obama campaign deputy national field director Marlon Marshall wrote in an email to supporters, touting a contest to attend the event.

"Pitch in $3 or whatever you can, and you'll be automatically entered for a chance to win," he said.

The day will begin with two fundraising events attended by current and former professional players, who will be signing autographs and holding "skills camp" competitions. Tickets for the events, which the president will not attend, are still available for $250 to $2,500 per person, a campaign official said.

The president will then join the players at a star-studded dinner co-hosted by Michael Jordan at the Time Warner Center, where about 120 donors will pay $20,000 per person, a source said.

The trip is expected to snarl traffic throughout the evening rush, with Air Force One scheduled to touch down at at the Wall Street Heliport at 6 p.m., traffic guru “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz said.

Schwartz warned drivers via Twitter to be on alert from Wall Street up to the Upper East and Upper West sides as the president travels to Columbus Circle for the dinner.

He advised drivers to avoid the FDR in both directions south of East 96th Street, as well as to watch out for delays on the East Side avenues, Broadway, Central Park South, Central Park West and Eighth Avenue.

The night is expected to end about 10 p.m. with the president heading back Downtown, which will shut down East Side avenues and the 65th Street Transverse Road, as well as closing the FDR Drive south of East 96th Street from 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Schwartz said.

The event was originally scheduled for last year, but it was postponed because of the NBA lockout.

The president has made numerous trips to the city throughout the campaign, raking in millions of dollars at appearances with celebs including Sarah Jessica Parker, former President Bill Clinton and songstress Mariah Carey.

All proceeds for Wednesday's dinner will go to the Obama Victory Fund, which channels money to the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.