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Tennis meets basketball

March 13, 2009 |  8:24 pm

The last big sporting stars to grace the grounds at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, before the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal rolled back in for their yearly tennis visit, happened to be Shaq and Steve Nash of the Suns.

That was in October when the shivering Suns lost to the Denver Nuggets in an NBA preseason game played at the Indian Wells tennis stadium, billed as the first outdoor NBA game in more than 35 years. Nash, who definitely would know, said the cool conditions made it feel more like Edmonton, Canada, than the greater Palm Springs area.

Shaq, being Shaq, used more creative language to describe it.

Still, despite the cold weather, it was billed as a huge success. Happy organizers were still talking about it here during the opening days of the BNP Paribas Open. And there is expected to be another NBA exhibition game outdoors in the fall.

Very unofficial word is that the next one will feature the Suns against the Golden State Warriors.

The big question: With or without Shaq and Nash?

-Lisa Dillman