Basketball

Exhibition draws more star power

Fifteen years ago, Sacramento's Michael Smith provided the memorable moment of the last NBA exhibition game in Wichita.

He shattered a Levitt Arena backboard with a rebound dunk, delaying the game 29 minutes on Oct. 13, 1995. Beyond that, Sacramento's 127-112 win over Denver didn't offer much star power. Neither team finished with a winning record. None of the biggest names — Dikembe Mutombo, Jalen Rose, Antonio McDyess — were on their way to NBA superstardom.

Tuesday's return of the NBA offers fans a little more sizzle, at least for an exhibition game. The Orlando Magic, last season's NBA runnerup, plays the New Orleans Hornets at Koch Arena.

"There's some pretty good credentials," said Bob Hanson, president of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.

Hanson said around 4,500 tickets have been sold.

"They've been coming in pretty fast (this week)," Hanson said.

The Magic, last season's NBA runnerup, suits up Dwight Howard, an All-NBA pick, winner of the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest and an Olympian. The Magic added eight-time All-Star Vince Carter in the offseason.

The Hornets' biggest star is guard Chris Paul, the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year, and a two-time All-Star. Former Kansas star Julian Wright is in his third season with the Hornets.

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