City readies for 2014 NBA All-Star game - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

City readies for 2014 NBA All-Star game

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Rita Benson LeBlanc and former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson to co-chair NBA All Star Event Committee Rita Benson LeBlanc and former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson to co-chair NBA All Star Event Committee

NEW ORLEANS - The city's economy will get a huge boost early in 2014 as New Orleans gets the chance to host its second NBA All-Star game.

Tuesday afternoon the 2014 NBA All-Star Host Committee announced the event's co-chairs, Rita Benson LeBlanc, Vice Chairman of the New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints; and Avery Johnson of ESPN, a New Orleans native, St. Augustine High School alum, and former NBA player and coach. Both are predicting a hugely successful event in February.

Benson LeBlanc said it is yet another opportunity for the city to shine in the national spotlight.

"The manifest is 16,000, so the experience in the arena is very intimate, very celebrity-driven, but we also will have the Jam Session and opportunities for the entire family in New Orleans, so our local fans can participate, as well," she said.

"This is huge, and it's going to bring [positive] messages about New Orleans around the world once again, so we'll have the attention of the world's media on New Orleans and particularly those that follow national basketball and it's going to be great," said Mark Romig, CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

All Star game week events kick off Friday, Feb. 14, and the big game will be played in the New Orleans Arena on Feb. 16. It is expected to have at least a $75 million impact on the local economy.

In addition, the "NBA Cares" program will have numerous community improvement projects.

Tourism leaders said with all of the related parties, local caterers and restaurants will be very busy and downtown hotels are expected to be full.

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