NEW YORK, May 22, 2006 --- New Orleans has been selected as the site of NBA All-Star 2008, it was announced today by NBA Commissioner David Stern. The 57th All-Star Game will be played at New Orleans Arena, home of the NBA’s Hornets, on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008. The game will be televised on TNT in the United States and will reach a worldwide television audience in more than 200 countries.

A week long celebration, NBA All-Star showcases NBA players’ passion for the game, engagement with fans, commitment to community and respect for the history and tradition of the game. The 2008 game will mark the first time that NBA All-Star will be held in New Orleans.

“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.” “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 New Orleans/Oklahoma City 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."

NBA All-Star 2008 competitions will tip off Friday, Feb. 15, as the league’s top rookies and second-year players square off in the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. The excitement will continue the next day with NBA All-Star Saturday Night including Shooting Stars, a competition featuring NBA and WNBA players and NBA legends; Skills Challenge, a contest of top guards working against the clock to complete a series of passes, long-range shots and agility drills; and the Three-Point Shootout, where six of the NBA’s best long-range shooters compete against each other and the clock in a test of three-point shooting accuracy. The evening’s grand finale, the Slam Dunk Contest, will showcase some of the NBA’s best athletes as they take to the air mystifying fans with their gravity-defying creativity.

“New Orleans has historically been one of the favorite sites for the biggest sports events—the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the BCS championship Game. Now the tradition continues with the NBA’s biggest weekend,” said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. “We’re thrilled by the news. We salute Commissioner Stern and his staff for their confidence that we can put on a great show. We’ll be ready to offer them our special brand of Louisiana hospitality.”

“The timing of this announcement is perfect,” continued Gov. 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.” Not all of the action will take place on the hardwood as the NBA will partner with schools and community-based organizations in New Orleans and surrounding areas to showcase the league’s on-going commitment to the community. Highlighting the NBA Cares activities will be the NBA All-Star Legacy Project and events where current and former NBA and WNBA players will build homes with Habitat for Humanity, run basketball and fitness clinics with Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA teams, visit local schools and children’s hospitals and participate in events that promote the value and importance of reading.

“The NBA’s announcement regarding All-Star represents the first major sporting event awarded to our community since Hurricane Katrina. It shows the NBA has confidence in our city’s ability to be ready for their showcase event and will make a statement to others who are considering scheduling conventions and sports in New Orleans in the future,” said Doug Thornton, Regional Vice President, SMG, New Orleans Arena. “We have worked closely with the NBA staff over the last few weeks to put the pieces together and meet their requirements. We applaud their Board of Governors for making this decision.”

“Attracting the NBA All-Star Game is further evidence of how important the Arena and the Superdome are to the lifestyle of this state. Credit is due to those visionaries who saw the need for a major arena in New Orleans,” said Tim Coulon, Chairman LSED Board of Commissioners. One of the week’s most popular attractions, the 15th NBA All-Star Jam Session, the world's largest interactive basketball theme park, will be held at The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Jam Session features over 450,000 square-feet of basketball entertainment for fans of all ages - that's the equivalent of 48 official-size NBA basketball courts or 18 million regulation-size basketballs. At Jam Session, fans can test their basketball skills on over 30 unique attractions; compare their hand and shoe sizes with those of their favorite NBA players; compete against their friends at on-court skills challenges; watch youngsters slam dunk and hit three-pointers at the Kids Zone and meet some of their favorite NBA and WNBA players and legends, celebrities and musical performers. Jam Session also offers an extensive trading card and collectibles area; the NBA Store, where fans can purchase exclusive NBA and All-Star branded merchandise and Center Court, the home for NBA All-Star Entertainment where fans can watch NBA All-Star practices, NBA dance teams and mascots, celebrity and NBA and WNBA Players in a variety of shooting contests. “The impact on tourism goes far beyond the many thousand who will be arriving for the event. The telecast of this year’s game was seen by more than 750 million households in 215 countries. It will serve as a reminder to the world that New Orleans is a truly unique place to visit,” said Steve Perry, President, Greater New Orleans Visitors Bureau.

“The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation looks forward to being a part of the Host Committee for NBA All-Star. This event helps reestablish New Orleans’ image as a major event city,” said Jay Cicero, President/CEO, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation.