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NBA Lockout Ends, But (Some) Charitable Efforts Will Go On

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Last Monday, NBA superstars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony announced their intention to host a four-game "Homecoming Tour" in each of their four hometowns in early December, to give NBA fans a taste of professional basketball in the midst of a contentious lockout.

Proceeds from the tour were supposed to benefit a charity of each superstar's choosing. Along with the exhibition games, the superstars were planning on hosting at least one charitable or educational event in each city.

But now that NBA players and owners have reached a tentative agreement to end the lockout early Saturday morning, the Homecoming Tour has been cancelled.

"We are thrilled that a tentative agreement has been reached and are looking forward to getting back to work and playing basketball," said Wade in a statement. "We all want to reconnect with our teams to make sure we hit the ground running when training camps are expected to open on December 9. Our commitment to helping children and the communities doesn't stop, and the daily work of our foundations to do just this will continue, as always."

To prove Wade's point: Despite the cancellation of the tour, all four superstars are expected to be in Brooklyn today to supply 800 meals to families as part of an event held by Feed the Children and The Boys and Girls Club of America, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

James will still hold an event on Wednesday for his charity, Wheels for Education, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. His three fellow superstars, however, will not be making the trip. (All four were originally scheduled to appear in Akron on Wednesday.)

The first game of the tour was supposed to be played at the University of Akron on Thursday.

Penny Hardaway getting charitable in Memphis: LeBron, D-Wade, and the crew aren't the only NBA players to be getting into the charitable spirit this holiday season, as former Orlando Magic star Penny Hardaway announced a plan earlier this month to open a seven-court, 100,000-square foot basketball facility for youths in Memphis.

"I grew up on a dirt basketball court, just trying to play the best way I could," Hardaway said, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "Then I was with the Boys Club, which was really my savior, because it allowed me to go and play away from my neighborhood, to have the peace of mind to be able to do the things I wanted to do."

The facility is expected to cost roughly $20 million. Hardaway said that there wasn't currently a timetable to complete the project, and organizers would not reveal how much of the expected $20 million cost had already been raised.

Photo: LeBron James reads "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" to a group of 3rd grade students as part of his Wheels on Education program on Nov. 30 in Akron, Ohio. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal/AP)

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