Smoothie King Center To Host 2017 NBA All-Star Game

12:31 August 23, 2016
By: Anthony O'Donnell

New Orleans played host to the National Basketball Association's All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center in 2014, and it appears the event, which brings together the best players from the league's Eastern and Western Conferences to battle it out, will be returning to the Big Easy in 2017. The official announcement came on Friday, August 19, after being rumored for weeks; New Orleans was reportedly the only city still in the bidding race to hold the event. As recently as August 12, the deal was still not finalized, as city officials were still settling on the details of the arrangement with the NBA's governing body. The game presents an opportunity for the state to recover economically in the wake of devastating flooding in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas, where 40,000 homes have been destroyed.

The game was previously scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, but on July 22, league officials chose to move the location after a controversy over anti-LGBT legislation. The laws, which loosen limits on discrimination against gay, lesbian, and transgender Americans, have been roundly criticized, and the NBA took notice. After choosing to withdraw from Charlotte, the league was lobbied heavily by Louisana politicians to relocate to New Orleans, partially on the basis that Louisiana is one of a few Southern states not pursuing discriminatory legislation. Among them was Gov. John Bel Edwards, who emphasized New Orleans' commitment to maintaining diversity in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Should the NBA choose to bring the All-Star Game back to New Orleans in 2017, it will strongly reaffirm its commitment to communities that value fairness and inclusion,” wrote Edwards, who issued an executive order condemning anti-LGBT discrimination earlier this year

Lebron James earned the Most Valuable Player award when the Smoothie King Center (then called New Orleans Arena) hosted the 2008 All-Star Game. That year, the league initiated numerous community service activities to help the ongoing recovery process following Hurricane Katrina, and will have the chance to work to help flooding victims leading up this year's game. The 2014 All-Star Game brought over $100 million in revenue to the city. The NBA's decision follows New Orleans' unsuccessful bids to hold the Super Bowl in 2015 and 2016.

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