Bubba Watson taking NBA Celebrity All-Star Game seriously
By T.J. Auclair
In case you hadn't heard, two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson will take part in the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Friday.
Emphasis on "will."
Watson is in Los Angeles this week to play in the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, a tournament he's won twice, most recently in 2016.
However, Watson will not let the tournament, with its $7.2 million purse, get in the way of the exhibition hoops game.
The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game -- a part of NBA All-Star Weekend -- is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. PST Friday at the Verizon Up Arena at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Watson had his wish of a late/early start granted (although it wasn't guaranteed). He tees off at 3:12 p.m. on Thursday and 7:32 a.m. on Friday, which should give him plenty of time to get to the arena.
However, if weather were an issue and pushed things back at Riviera on Friday, Watson said he was committed to playing basketball late that afternoon.
“I really don't want to pull out of L.A., but I will pull out if I have to," Watson told Golf Digest's Dave Shedloski. "I will no-show because I am definitely showing up at the [arena]. That I'm not worried about."
The 6-foor-3 has long been a huge NBA fan. His wife, Angie, actually played in the WNBA.
The chance to play in the Celebrity Game, where he will count the likes of Jamie Foxx, Paul Pierce and rapper Common as teammates on Team Clippers, is something he's been looking forward to for a year.
"I love the NBA. I love watching basketball," Watson said Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links after finishing T-35 in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Shedloski reported. "My wife [Angie] played in the WNBA. I’ve had season tickets from different teams. As soon as I heard a year ago that they were going to be in L.A., and that the dates corresponded, once I saw that I started petitioning. I told them I’d love to play in it, and finally they said I could."
Again, with the tee times Watson drew for this week, something strange with the weather -- not entirely out of the realm of possibility -- would need to happen for the golf to interfere with the basketball.
But, could you imagine social media if Watson actually did walk off mid-tournament to go play in an exhibition basketball game?