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Leiweke Talks Up "Rubber-Free" 2011 NBA All-Star Game

By Eric Richardson
Published: Sunday, June 06, 2010, at 06:24PM
NBA All-Star Game 2011 Logo Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Clippers guard Eric Gordan, Lakers great James Worthy, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and AEG CEO Tim Leiweke unveil the logo for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.

The 2011 NBA All-Star Game will be league's 60th and Staples Center's second, but it will be the first to take place inside a completed complex that was designed with the event solidly in mind.

"When we designed L.A. Live, [the NBA] actually got involved in the design process," AEG CEO Tim Leiweke said today during a press conference to unveil the game's logo.

The result will be a "rubber-free" event, one where those attending events don't have to get into a car or bus to travel between different venues. "This might be the first time in the history of the NBA All-Star Game where everything is self-contained in a 100-acre campus," said Leiweke.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Leiweke in making a pitch for events like the NBA draft to make a move to Los Angeles. "To the folks at the the NBA, I would mention, if there is any other opportunity ... we would love to continue to partner with you."

When Staples Center hosted its last NBA All-Star Game in 2004, the area where the L.A. Live complex now sits was nothing but parking lots. Today, the $2-billion complex holds more than a dozen restaurants, nearly 1,000 hotel rooms and three entertainment venues.

Leiweke wants more, though.

"One, we'd like a few more hotels," he said. "And two, it wouldn't be bad to have a big events center next door. We're working on both."

It was revealed in April that Leiweke and Casey Wasserman were working on plans for an NFL stadium next door to Staples Center on the site of the Convention Center's West Hall. That stadium would feature a retractable roof, making it capable of hosting more than just football games.

"I think that would be the final piece of the puzzle here to make this the most unique campus in the world," Leiweke said today. "Obviously it's one of the things we're focused on right now, trying to finish the ideas here so that we can go after not just the NHL and NBA events, but every event. That events center would do that for us."

The All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, February 20, 2011, and will be part of a week of activities. Among them will be the All-Star Fan Fest, which will take place at the Convention Center. Leiweke believes that is something Downtowners will particularly enjoy. "The Fan Fest is going to be an opportunity for all of L.A., but in particular Downtown L.A., to come to the Convention Center and interact with the players, interact with the other fans and the stars, interact with all the alumni and the retired players."

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