NEW YORK, Feb. 1 – The NBA has teamed up with Spalding to design a new limited edition basketball that will commemorate NBA All-Star 2006 taking place in Houston Feb.17-19. The ball will be used during the McDonald’s All-Star Celebrity Game presented by NBA 2K Sports, the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge, and the events during NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL.

The new 2006 NBA All-Star ball will feature the host city’s team colors and the All-Star logo. It is the second in a series of All-Star basketballs used each year incorporating the host city’s team colors. The All-Star ball will feature alternating panels of red, white and silver along with the 2006 NBA All-Star logo. The limited edition ball will be a collector’s item with a total of only 2,006 being made available to fans. The ball, which retails for $95, will be laser-engraved with an identifying number (i.e. 1 of 2,006) along with the words “Limited Edition” and the Houston All-Star secondary “State of Texas” logo.

The ball is currently available at the world’s only NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and on NBAStore.com. Beginning Thursday, Feb. 16, fans will be able to purchase the limited edition ball at the NBA Store at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Nokia in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, as well as at the Toyota Center Team Shop during All-Star 2006.

The Limited Edition Spalding NBA All-Star ball will be used during the McDonald’s All-Star Celebrity Game presented by NBA 2K Sports, which takes place Friday, Feb.17 at 6 p.m. at the NBA All-Star Jam Session, as well as during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge which takes place on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Toyota Center. In addition, participants in the RadioShack Shooting Stars Contest, PlayStation Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout and the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk competitions – all which take place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Toyota Center during NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by AOL – will use the new All-Star ball.

“After the successful debut of the Limited Edition All-Star Ball in Denver last year, we thought it was important to offer fans the opportunity to commemorate the All-Star Game again this year,” says Brian Keegan, NBA Senior Director of Apparel, Sporting Goods and Basketball Partnerships. “With only 2,006 balls available, the NBA and Spalding have created a collectible item that will represent All-Star memories for fans and players alike for years to come.”

About NBA All-Star 2006
NBA All-Star 2006 in Houston will feature a week of activities that will showcase the greatest athletes in the world playing basketball at the highest level on an international stage and will display the league’s deep commitment to its community through the NBA Cares initiative. During the week, the NBA will conduct various interactive fan events such as the NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Nokia, an interactive basketball theme park for fans of all ages taking place at the George R. Brown Convention Center, which features a 12,000 sq. ft. NBA Store offering more than 1,000 NBA products to fans, including authentic All-Star jerseys, t-shirts, hats, footwear, basketballs and more. The week will culminate with the 2006 NBA All-Star Game, which features the top players from the Eastern and Western conferences going head to head. The Game will be televised on TNT on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. (ET).

More than 200 licensees manufacture and promote NBA products, which are sold in more than 100,000 retail stores in 100 countries on six continents. Major categories include video games, apparel, sporting goods and trading cards. The NBA also owns and operates the world’s only NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City and NBAStore.com. The NBA Store receives over 1,000,000 visitors annually and features multimedia attractions, a fully operational broadcast booth and an official half-court used for special events, and regularly-scheduled appearances by NBA and WNBA players, legends and celebrities. NBAStore.com receives over 20,000,000 visitors each year and offers three international stores online in Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.

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