Phoenix to Host 2009 All-Star
Posted Nov 8 2007 11:13AM
PHOENIX, Nov. 8, 2007 – Phoenix has been selected as the site of NBA All-Star 2009, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced today. The 58th All-Star Game will be played at the US Airways Center, home of the NBA’s Suns and 2007 WNBA Champion Mercury, on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009. A worldwide television audience spanning over 200 countries will view the events. Fans in the United States will watch the action on TNT. Phoenix also hosted All-Star in 1975 and 1995.
"Phoenix is one of the great sports and entertainment destinations, so it is only natural that it will once again become the basketball capital of the world," said Stern. "We appreciate the leadership of Jerry Colangelo, Robert Sarver and the Suns organization for inviting us to make their arena our home for what promises to be an exciting and entertaining All-Star."
The All-Star competitions will tip off on Friday, Feb. 13, as the league’s top rookies and second-year players square off in the Rookie Challenge. The excitement will continue the next day with NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which includes 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, free throws, lay-ups and agility drills, and the Three-Point Shootout, where six of the best long-range shooters compete against each other and the clock in a test of 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.
“We are proud that Phoenix, and downtown in particular, will be showcased around the world through the media’s coverage of NBA All-Star 2009,” said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. “This is a great example of how our city’s leadership, public and private, can work together to bring events with major economic impact to Phoenix.”
Not all of the action will take place on the court as the NBA will celebrate its tradition and commitment to social responsibility with a schedule of NBA Cares events taking place throughout All-Star. NBA Cares will partner with schools, government and local non-profit organizations in Phoenix and surrounding areas to highlight the league’s grassroots and community initiatives that reach millions of young people and their parents while providing critical resources to community-based programs.
One of All-Star’s most popular attractions is Jam Session, the world's largest interactive basketball theme park, which will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center. In its 16th season, Jam Session will feature over 450,000 square-feet of basketball entertainment for fans of all ages - the equivalent of 48 official-size NBA basketball courts or 18 million regulation-size basketballs.
At Jam Session, fans can test their skills on over 30 unique attractions, compare their hand and shoe sizes with those of their favorite NBA players, compete against friends at on-court skills challenges, watch youngsters slam dunk and hit three-pointers at the Kids Zone, and meet some of their favorite 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 merchandise, and Center Court, the home for All-Star entertainment, where fans can watch practices, dance teams and mascots, and celebrities, NBA, WNBA players in a variety of shooting contests.
The 2009 event marks the third time Phoenix has hosted All-Star. On Jan. 15, 1975, the New York Knicks’ and future Hall of Fame guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier scorched the West with 30 points - including 10-of-17 shooting from the field - to capture MVP honors. Played at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Game is remembered for the performances of many eventual Hall of Famers including Rick Barry of the Golden State Warriors, John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Milwaukee Bucks. Charlie Scott of the Phoenix Suns also participated in the game. In the end, the East, coached by K.C. Jones of the Washington Bullets, prevailed 108-102, against the West, led by coach Al Attles of the Warriors.
The All-Star Game returned to the desert 20 years later on Feb. 12, 1995, when Suns stars Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle were among those selected to play and Sacramento Kings guard Mitch Richmond scored 23 points in 22 minutes to earn MVP honors. Played at the then-America West Arena, Suns legend Paul Westphal coached the West to a 139-112 blowout of the East, coached by Brian Hill of the Orlando Magic. The Game displayed the talents of many players still competing in the NBA including Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Penny Hardaway, Grant Hill, and Alonzo Mourning.