Season-long Effort Will Reach 30,000 Children Through Education, Recreation and Housing

NEW YORK, Oct. 31, 2007 – The NBA today announced a league-wide season-long effort to help in the on-going rebuilding of New Orleans. Joining NBA Commissioner David Stern for the NBA Cares programming announcement at Walter L. Cohen High School were Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Ollie Tyler, New Orleans Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas, New Orleans Hornets Owner George Shinn, Sacramento Kings Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof, and NBA Legends Bob Lanier and Willis Reed.

The event also served as the dedication of the first of 40 places in New Orleans that the NBA has committed to creating where kids and families will be able to live, learn or play. The ribbon cutting at Cohen High School marked the beginning of a plan by the Hornets, the NBA and Cisco to create 30 Family Community Resource Centers in the Recovery School District and an additional five centers in Jefferson Parish Schools. The Centers will serve as places to encourage an increased level of family involvement in education, providing on-site resources and technology.

The NBA Cares initiative will feature all members of the NBA Family, including players, teams, the National Basketball Players Association, and all of the NBA’s media and marketing partners. Together, they will perform more than 30,000 hours of hands-on community service as all visiting NBA teams will participate in community activities when they travel to New Orleans to take on the Hornets during the regular season. In addition, the first NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service will be held on Friday, Feb. 15, 2008, when over 2,500 members of the NBA family will take part in a variety of service projects throughout the city.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the NBA to assist in the revitalization of New Orleans. There is nothing more important to us than helping this city and its people rebuild,” said Stern.

The NBA, in conjunction with the Hornets, Louisiana state and local officials, and the Louisiana Department of Education, have identified three key areas of need that their programs and service projects will address: education, housing and recreation. The NBA, teams, and marketing partners will be collaborating with more than a dozen leading national and local community-based organizations to assist over 30,000 children by the end of the 2007-08 NBA season. Organizations working with the NBA include: the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Rebuilding Together, City Year, Hands-On New Orleans, Habitat for Humanity, KaBOOM!, and YMCA.

"The NBA’s plan to revitalize New Orleans through education, housing and recreation is an example of a successful public-private partnership that produces results for the city," said Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu. "The Hornets are a strong partner for the New Orleans community and we are grateful for their leadership in bringing the NBA family to help rebuild our community."

In addition to the Family Community Resource Centers, the NBA will partner with New Orleans-area school districts to provide educational and technological resources to schools and create incentive programs to promote and reward educational success. Working with Habitat for Humanity - who have worked closely with the Hornets’ Hoops for Homes program during the past two years – and Rebuilding Together, the league will also continue to build new homes throughout the Gulf Coast region and assist other residents with rebuilding damaged homes. To address the lack of recreational areas throughout the city, the NBA and its partners plan to create and rebuild play spaces (basketball courts and playgrounds) with adidas and Toyota Project Rebound, in addition to the re-establishment of the Jr. Hornets and local Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA programs with a series of basketball clinics leading to NBA All-Star 2008.

On Oct. 30th, members of the Hornets and Kings hosted students from three local elementary schools to help tip-off the Hornets’ Read to Achieve program and to launch the NBA’s All-Star incentive program. This outing marked the first in a series of events that will reward young people with visits from their favorite NBA player.

A highlight of this program will be the 2nd Annual T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 15, where over 5,000 students who have successfully completed a reading achievement and attendance program, will attend the Rookie-Sophomore game at the New Orleans Arena.

To assist the promotion of tourism in New Orleans, current and former NBA players with a connection to the region will be appearing in public service announcements for the state’s “My Louisiana” campaign.

The response of the NBA family to the devastation of Katrina was immediate and sustained. Through the efforts of the NBA, along with its teams, current and former players, and National Basketball Players Association, contributions to the Gulf Region have exceeded $15 million to date. NBA efforts include the construction of 35 homes with Habitat for Humanity and the building of five playgrounds with KaBOOM! The NBA Players Hurricane Relief Game included nearly 40 NBA stars and raised over $1.5 million. The NBA also hosted the first professional sporting event in post-Katrina New Orleans when the Hornets played the Los Angeles Lakers in the New Orleans Arena less than seven months after the storm. In May 2006, league announced that NBA All-Star 2008 would be coming to the city, making it the first major event of any kind to commit to the New Orleans.