Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hello From New Orleans

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS - The Sonics Beat blog comes to you live from the Big Easy, the site of the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. We'll be on the scene all weekend long with complete coverage of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green playing in tomorrow's T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam and all the other action we've come to associate with All-Star Weekend, culminating in the 57th Annual NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

It's hard to forget that the All-Star Game is here. All of the downtown business and hotel district has been rebranded to celebrate All-Stars and the NBA. The sides of several buildings have been taken over by NBA-related billboards, and the player hotel is heavily decorated. Even the keycard for my hotel room features the All-Star logo.

The Louis Armstrong International Airport provided my first taste of the All-Star mania and I took a quick video of one banner. I'm going to embed it, but you probably shouldn't bother clicking. I'm mostly testing for when we get some useful video tomorrow.

I knew early in the trip there were going to be a lot of All-Star sightings. Lenny Wilkens was on my flight to Houston. Then, as I checked in to my hotel, Nets GM Kiki Vandeweghe was doing the same just to my left. (Shouldn't he be working on a trade?)

Anyways, Durant and Green have been here all day, running the gauntlet for NBA Entertainment, getting their photos taken, doing video and more. In the photo at top, Durant joined with LeBron James, Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks, Brandon Roy and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to help Nike reopen the New Orleans Parks and Recreation's St. Bernard Community Center.

As you see at left, Green took time out from his busy day to sign an autograph for a young fan. (Photo credit: Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images)

Tomorrow will be busy for the Sonics rookies as well. After participating in the NBA Cares Day of Service in the morning, they'll have practice with the Rookie Team and then the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. on TNT. We'll be blogging all day long, so make sure to check out SUPERSONICS.COM for the latest from New Orleans.