Economy affects NBA All-Star weekend

The Washington Post (Michael Lee) reports on 2009 NBA All-Star weekend: An inability to assemble private sponsors has led to the cancellation of some of the more popular parties, such as Zo & Magic’s Eight Ball Challenge, a celebrity-infused pool tournament that usually kicks off the weekend, and an ESPN bowling event. The Jordan Brand shoe company, which held a red-carpet party last year in New Orleans, elected to have a private dinner instead. And the NBA Players Association All-Star Gala, a lavish, invitation-only event considered the premier party of the weekend, plans to rely more on music from a disc jockey after having live performances by comedian Cedric the Entertainer, rappers T.I. and Snoop Dogg, and R&B singer Mary J. Blige in recent years. “I think the people that are coming to Phoenix are going to enjoy All-Star Weekend a great deal,” said Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher, president of the players’ union. “At the same time, a lot of our sponsors, a lot of our players and the league overall are very aware of what the people in our country are going through. I think you’ll see a little bit of a subdued feel with over-the-top parties, and guys doing a lot of different things individually.”

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