Sunday, June 7, 2009
Updated: June 8, 10:20 AM ET
L.A. to host All-Star Game in 2011
LOS ANGELES -- The NBA All-Stars are coming back to a city filled with stars.
The league is bringing its All-Star Game and weekend-long festivities to Los Angeles for a record fifth time in 2011, continuing a trend of taking its midwinter break in a warm weather city.
Commissioner David Stern made the announcement Sunday before Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Lakers and Orlando Magic.
The 60th game will be played Feb. 20 at Staples Center, also the site of the 2004 game.
"For one week, L.A. will become the basketball capital of the world," Stern said. "It is always that way at All-Star, and it's one of my favorite events because not only does the world focus on us, but our legends come in and it becomes part of a family reunion, and this is a big deal for us."
The city also hosted the game in 1963 at the Sports Arena, and at the Forum in suburban Inglewood in 1972 and '83, when Marvin Gaye performed a memorable version of the national anthem.
Stern said he didn't hesitate in awarding the event just seven years after it was held in the same city.
"We're likely to shorten the rotation a bit because it's getting more difficult to find cities with the kinds of amenities, close hotel accommodations, the convention center and the like, and LA has been a popular destination," he said.
The commissioner said Orlando and its yet unfinished new arena is a candidate to again host All-Star weekend "in the very near future."
This year's event was in Phoenix and next year it will be in Dallas. Warm weather climates in major tourist destinations appeal to the NBA's owners and international broadcasters, Stern said.
"Our guests seem to come in greater numbers to warm weather, and that's something we're going to have to face up to and deal with as we seek to attract the largest number," he said.
Stern said the event carries an economic impact of $100 million for Los Angeles.
"Anybody that brings $100 million to my town at a time when the economy isn't doing well, and it'll be 2011, and hopefully we'll be pulling it out," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "but obviously this will be a great shot in the arm, a great opportunity for us to show off L.A. All I say is that every one of you please spend as much money you can in our town."
Staples Center will be the site of the Rookie Challenge, Youth Jam and All-Star Saturday Night. The All-Star Jam Session, an interactive fan experience, will be staged at the convention center next door.
"We actually tried to bid on the finals, but David assured me that despite what is occasionally written, those are earned, not awarded," said Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, which owns the arena.
By 2011, a 54-story, 1,001-room complex that includes two hotels and 224 luxury condos will be completed, giving the NBA additional space across the street from Staples Center. The LA Live entertainment district with nightclubs and restaurants is already open next to the hotel site.
"I'll be the first major sporting event to be hosted in the campus with everything open," Leiweke said.
In 2004, Lakers teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant combined for 44 points to give the Western Conference a 136-132 victory over the East. O'Neal earned MVP honors. This year in Phoenix, O'Neal and Bryant shared the MVP award and helped the West beat the East 146-119.