Tuesday
Feb222011

Will Brooklyn, Nets Be Ready To Host The NBA All-Star Game?

By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor

February 22, 2011: Executives and other movers and shakers are back from Los Angeles and the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. Among the hot topics: Even without Carmelo Anthony, there is an all-star coming to the NBA's Nets in the near future — either the 2013 or 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

But two key questions may not be answered for several months: Will the Nets' new venue, Barclays Center in Brooklyn be completed as scheduled in 2012? And will the arrival of Anthony with the New York Knicks tip the All-Star Game scales in favor of Madison Square Garden?

If logistics remain on course, the Nets will move from their current home at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, for the 2012-13 season. And the NBA could then head to Brooklyn in February 2013 or February 2014 and bring its vast array of all-stars, potentially including Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and even Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire from the Knicks across the East River, to Brooklyn.

The NBA is expected to unveil the site of the 2013 All-Star Game in May or June during the late round playoffs. If Barclays Center construction is not well enough along by then to guarantee opening for the 2012-13 season, the NBA could name another city from among its current list of top candidates and hold off until May 2012 to name Barclays Center site of the 2014 All-Star Game.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game is being held in Orlando.

One additional advantage to holding its 2014 All-Star Game in either Brooklyn or New York would be to take advantage of the global fervor that would surround Super Bowl XLVIII, being played at the New Meadowlands, likely a week before that year's NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA has already decided to move the All-Star Game and related festivities back a week beginning in 2012 in anticipation of the NFL expanding from a 16- to an 18-game schedule, which in turn would potentially move the Super Bowl back from the first Sunday in February to the third.

In addition to New York, among the cities considered at the top of the list to host upcoming All-Star Games are Miami, Boston, Toronto and Houston. Miami could have to wait a few years due to the fact that the 2012 All-Star Game is in Orlando and the NBA would not likely host back-to-back events in the same state. But that might not be true in the case of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Amway Center in Orlando is the site of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.The arrival of Anthony in New York could in some quarters give the high-profile New York Knicks the nod in 2013 or 2014. The All-Star Game would be at a new-look Madison Square Garden, which is undergoing an estimated $850 million renovation that is scheduled for completion in 2012. That, in turn, could push the Brooklyn plan back several seasons.

However, part of the strategy for taking the game to Brooklyn would be to reward Nets' owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who has brought his deep Russian financial pockets into the league and been a major catalyst in opening Russia for NBA growth. And hosting the game in Brooklyn puts national and international attention on Barclays Center, which would be the NBA's newest top-to-bottom venue.

This season, the NBA opened an office in Moscow, the Nets visited Russia on a two-day goodwill stop as part of the team's preseason tour of China (with the Houston Rockets) and CSKA Moscow of the Russian Euroleague played preseason games in the U.S. against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Part of the NBA's strategy would also be to bring the All-Star Game and its growing need for glitz and glamour to back to New York, where the last NBA All-Star Game was at Madison Square Garden in 1998. Brooklyn's Barclay Center at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues is just a short drive across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges or a short subway ride via ten different lines, as well as the Long Island Rail Road, from Manhattan. So plenty of A-Listers would not even have to commit to the uncharted, yet diverse, nightlife of Brooklyn and still be part of the action.

And there would be a lot of action thanks to the presence of Jay-Z, who is a part owner of the Nets and a native of Brooklyn. Jay-Z would be 100% behind not only hosting and performing during the NBA festivities, but could also bring along numerous A-List friends, including his wife, Beyoncé.

Artist's rendition of Barclays Center, which is scheduled to open in 2012.If either or both the Nets and Knicks get an All-Star Game, the All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas, which features interactive games and marketing destinations from NBA partners, could be held at Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, In the case of the Nets, some events could take place at the Cushman & Wakefield Theater being constructed as part of Barclays Center.

Over the past few years the league has forgone previous tradition of spreading the NBA All-Star Game host cities around in favor locations worthy of attracting high-profile global attention. The event was held in Los Angeles in 2004 and then again relatively quickly in 2011. In 2007, the venue was Las Vegas, the first time the event was held in non-NBA franchise city. In 2012, the All-Star Game will be in Disney World-centric Orlando, with  Hollywood-style events centered in and around the Amway Center, which opened this season as the home of the Magic.

When Orlando hosts the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, the weekend of events would begin on Friday, Feb 24, 2012, the Slam Dunk and other skills events would be played on Feb. 25 and the game itself would be held at the Amway Center on Sunday, Feb 26.

In 2012, Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis is currently scheduled for Feb. 5, a date that would be virtually impossible to change given the time frame of less than a year. In 2013, Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans  is only "tentatively" scheduled for Feb. 3 but could be played on Feb. 17 with minimal discomfort to those involved.

Nascar has also moved the date of its annual Daytona 500 back two weeks beginning in 2012 in anticipation of an expanded NFL season.

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