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All-Star Weekend takes over LA’s Staples Center

LA's Staples Center - the home of the 2018 NBA All Star Game
LA's Staples Center - the home of the 2018 NBA All Star Game
Photo by Tim Wang via Flickr Creative Commons

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This weekend, the 2018 NBA All Star Game comes to the Staples Center. Since its opening in 1999, the Staples Center has hosted two other All Star Games, in 2004 and 2011, as well as seven NBA Finals series with the Lakers, the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, and three WNBA Finals.

In 2005, the adjoining property broke ground, in what would become the retail and entertainment space, LA LIVE.

We heard from Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and L.A. Live. He was the first employee hired for the Staples Center way back in the early days, and he experienced that first All Star Game in 2004. He talked about the differences between putting on an event now, compared with doing it in 2004 and even 2011.

I think in '04, we had over 300 buses we had to get in on site for all three nights of the events, and then we had to park them. And then in 2011 it went way down. This year we’re talking maybe 25, 35 buses that need to come to downtown Los Angeles, because pretty much everything is staying at L.A. Live, so in that sense it’s gotten easier.  As it relates to security, we don’t have all that open space – we now have all that property built up around downtown LA … including, as I look out my office right now, I’m looking at three towers that are under construction … so those need to be looked at from a security standpoint.

And the weekend won't be just about basketball. There will be parties, concerts and other attractions, including a celebrity game between teams helmed by rappers Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz.

Take Two contributors Andy and Brian Kamenetzky joined Take Two to talk about what it takes to put together an event like this, and Brian talked about the appeal of the event. 

There is something for everyone because the NBA and basketball, more than any other sport, really is an intersection between the sport itself, but also fashion and pop culture, particularly if you're into sneaker culture. 

But Andy had a sad reminder for fans of the Lakers and Clippers. Neither team will have a major presence this weekend. For the first time since 1996, that was a year before Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal joined the Lakers, there will not be an L.A. team represented in the All Star Game ... although Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma of the Lakers will be playing in the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game, which was formerly called the Rookie Game.

 Oh well, there's always next year.