Tuesday, March 27, 2012
McDonald's returning to Chicago in '13
By Ronnie Flores
CHICAGO -- The McDonald’s All-American Games will return to Chicago in 2013, McDonald's announced Tuesday.
One of the nation's most prestigious high school all-star events will take place at the United Center for the third consecutive year in 2013.
This year's McDonald's All-American festivities will conclude March 28 with the girls' game slated for 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU) and the boys' game at 9:30 pm ET (ESPN).
After changing venues each year since the game's inception in 1978, Chicago is the first city to host the McDonald's All-American Games in back-to-back years. McDonald's is so pleased with its relationship with the basketball-crazed city, the event will return for an unprecedented third consecutive year.
"Since we came here in 2011, Chicago has embraced the McDonald's All-American Games," said Douglas Freeland, director of the McDonald’s All-American Games. "Chicago has a great tradition of high school basketball and we're very happy to keep the games here in 2013."
McDonald's had no intentions of returning to the Windy City prior to the completion of its 2011 festivities, according to Freeland, but a record 20,019 fans attended the games at the United Center and that influenced the decision to return. The huge turnout generated $625,000 in proceeds for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
In 2011, Anthony Davis (now at Kentucky) was the top home-grown product. Next year, local fans may get a chance to see Jabari Parker of Simeon (Chicago) one last time before he heads to college in the fall of 2013.
Parker, ranked No. 1 in the ESPNU 60, is arguably the nation's top boys' high school basketball player and is a logical choice to get an invite.
According to Freeland, McDonald's is aware of Parker's ability and following in the city, but there haven't been any formal talks with him or Simeon's administration about the event.
Still, Parker is looking forward to the event, even if he doesn't have an invite yet.
"I love it," Parker said. “It’s big for my community and for our school. It’s special because I’ll be playing in front of familiar faces that supported me throughout my career. I won’t be as nervous as I probably would’ve been, and I just feel like I’m playing for my city.”