New Orleans Awarded NBA All-Star Weekend 2008
In a move that’ll come as a surprise to many, it was announced today that the NBA has chosen New Orleans to host the 2008 All-Star Weekend. After all the talk of moving the Hornets to Oklahoma permanently, it seems as if David Stern and his boys are making the ultimate statement of their commitment to the Big Easy.
“The award of NBA All-Star 2008 is our vote of confidence in the progress that is being made in the reopening and rebuilding of New Orleans’ tourism infrastructure,” said Stern. “New Orleans will become the basketball capital of the world in February 2008, and demonstrate to a global audience that New Orleans is very much open for business.”
While playing a handful of games in Louisiana this season was essentially a token gesture, handing New Orleans the hosting duties for the league’s midseason showcase is huge. Not only is it a resounding vote of confidence in the city’s ability to sustain a franchise in a stabilisation period, it’s also a move which will make a significant financial contribution, bringing in literally tens of millions of dollars.
For the next few years, the Crescent City’s focus will be on a return to normality, from the physical restoration of damaged areas to the improvement of the fragile economic infrastructure, and the effect of All-Star Weekend on these goals will be limited. Where it will have a major impact, however, is in showing that New Orleans is once again willing and able to provide world-class entertainment, which is exactly what made it such a popular city with both the league and the country in the first place.