Monday , May , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

New Orleans to host 2008 NBA All-Star Game

=== New Orleans to host 2008 NBA All-Star Game ===

New York, NY (Sports Network) – National Basketball Association commissioner
David Stern announced on Monday that the city of New Orleans, home of the
Hornets, will play host to the 2008 NBA All-Star Game.

It will mark the first time the event has taken place in the city of New
Orleans. The 57th edition of the exhibition showcase will be held on Sunday,
February 17, 2008.

“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.”

Stern is of course making reference to the ongoing rebuilding process in New
Orleans due to the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city
in late August of 2005.

Among the many buildings to be damaged by the natural disaster was the New
Orleans Arena. The hurricane and its aftermath forced the Hornets to play the
majority of their 2005-06 schedule in Oklahoma City, though the club did
return to the city for a few games during the season.

The Hornets will also play most of their home games next season at the Ford
Center in Oklahoma City.

When making the announcement earlier in the year that the Hornets would play
35 of their 2006-07 home games at the Ford Center, Stern said the league
remained committed to returning the franchise to New Orleans, hopefully by the
2007-08 season.

The NBA’s announcement Monday is the first major step in making that a
reality.

“The timing of this announcement is perfect,” said Louisiana governor Kathleen
Blanco. “We’ve had great crowds for our major events since Hurricane Katrina
— the Hornets’ three games in New Orleans Arena, Mardi Gras, the Zurich Golf
Classic and JazzFest. And now we can look forward to the 2008 NBA All-Star
Game. What better way to say we’re coming back.”

A week long celebration, the NBA All-Star Game game festivities begin Friday
with the rookie challenge. That contest is followed by the NBA All-Star
Saturday Night, which features the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shootout and
Slam Dunk Contest among other competitions.

“NBA All-Star 2008 will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only the
greatest athletes in the world, but one of the greatest cities in the world in
New Orleans,” said Hornets owner George Shinn. “I can’t think of a better way
to show people that our city is back and revitalized than by hosting the NBA’s
signature event.”

The 2007 All-Star Game is scheduled for Sunday, February 18 in Las Vegas.

NOH