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NBA ALL-STAR WEEKEND


February 24, 2012


Vince Cellini

Jerry Colangelo

Neil Fairlamb

Marc Gasol

Pepe Saez


ORLANDO, FLORIDA

VINCE CELLINI:  Thank you very much.  Good morning, everyone, and I'd like to thank you for being here this morning.  It's sunny and slightly humid in Orlando, the City Beautiful, host of the NBA All Star Game 2012.  NBA All Star brings together the best basketball players from around the world to compete together in what is the ultimate showcase of the sport, and soon enough, those players will be wearing the uniforms that represent their countries in the quest for gold.
20 years ago, think about that, 20 years ago, the Dream Team took the world by storm, captivating the globe in a basketball way, a true milestone event, and I think we would all agree things have not been the same since.  Here we are today for two exciting announcements regarding the 2012 USA Basketball men and women's national team campaign.  Without further ado I'd like to introduce the gentlemen you see on the stage here.
He oversees one of the most successful basketball leagues in Europe, and will lead his country as it plays host to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Pepe Saez.
This gentleman is an innovator, pioneer in sports, the architect of the 2008 gold medal and 2010 world championship teams, the USA Basketball team chairman Jerry Colangelo.
Also with us this morning, Neil Fairlamb, the head of sport for the Manchester City Council.  Good to see you.
And just entering the stage, first‑time NBA All‑Star and Memphis Grizzlies all‑time leader in field goal percentage, also a member of the Spanish national team since 2006, Marc Gasol.
So let's get on with the announcements now.  The USA will travel nearly 15,000 miles and stop in four cities during its tour this summer.  Now I'd like to invite Jerry Colangelo to the podium to talk about the training tour and maybe he can shed some light on the badge you see on the banner behind us.
JERRY COLANGELO:  Thank you, Vince.  Appreciate it.  Good morning, also, from my perspective, and thank you for joining us today.  I'd also like to personally welcome our guests here up on stage, Mark and Pepe and Neil, and I thank you all for joining us for this announcement.
I'd also like to recognize two additional partners who are involved in USA Basketball's 2012 training, Greg Bibb, Washington Wizards Executive VP, and we thank you for being here today.  Unable to be with us, Pat Christenson from the Las Vegas Events program, who is very involved with our training camps and so forth, and has been for a number of years.  All of these people coming together make things work, so we have a good team behind us.
Our exhibition games will feature some of the world's best players.¬† They'll be representing the United States as well as Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Great Britain and Spain, and we're very pleased that Marc is here this morning.¬† This young man has really come a long way in his career, and congratulations on your All‑Star appearance.
Our second announcement this morning is to officially reveal the 2012 USA men's and women's national team training plans.  The 2012 men's training camp is the most challenging and ambitious schedule our national team will face since I took over the program in 2005.  This summer we'll train for 20 days.  We'll play exhibition games against five basketball powers in four outstanding cities.  We'll open training camp on July 6th in Las Vegas.  We will play a game on July 12th in Las Vegas against the Dominican Republic.  We move on to Washington, D.C., where we will train for three days and also play a game in the Verizon Center, as well as the women's national team, who will be playing in Washington, D.C., and we play Brazil while we're there.
We have some wonderful plans for Washington, D.C., as we embark on our quest again as we go off to Europe.  We're very excited about that.  We then travel to Manchester, England.  While in the historic city of Manchester, the women will play Great Britain on July 18th, and one day later it's the men's tournament where we take on Great Britain at the Manchester Arena.
20 years after the USA Team took the world by storm and claimed gold in Barcelona, we're very excited to announce today we're returning.  I was there in that terrific Olympics.  It was quite a scene.  And so Barcelona is a great city, and they're looking forward to hosting these games while we're there.
We play Argentina on July 22nd, and then on the 24th against Spain.  And we've had some terrific games with Spain.  They're very, very competitive, and they illustrate just how far the world has come in terms of basketball.
Following the exhibition game in Barcelona the women will then head to Istanbul, Turkey, where they'll participate in a tournament from July 21st to the 24th.  That's the schedule for our teams for 2012.
As he pointed out, behind me is the USA Basketball's new logo, which we are officially introducing here today.  The previous USA Basketball logo was adopted in 1989, and of course the Dream Team helped make that logo one that is recognized worldwide.  Since 1990, all USA Basketball teams have had that logo on their uniforms, but in 2012, the uniforms will sport the new mark you see behind me.  The new logo we are unveiling today combines components from the past into a modern, simplified mark honoring the strong heritage and national pride represented by USA Basketball.  Our prior logo will remain within the USA Basketball portfolio as a heritage mark, and will be used when milestones and anniversaries are recognized.
A press release about USA Basketball's new logo and logo sheet are available in the back of the room.
As an aside, you see we have some new uniforms that we're displaying.  A few days ago I guess someone came out and took a shot at our new uniforms.  I'll go on record as saying I think they're great.  We love them.  This is cutting edge technology in terms of materials and the lightness, and they just look like 2012.
So with that, thank you again for being here, and we're very excited about this upcoming Olympics.
VINCE CELLINI:  Thank you very much, Jerry.  I don't know how you can not like the uniforms.  I think they're fantastic, great look, stitched on numbers, great detail, and it's an exciting time for USA Basketball, and I'm sure the team will face plenty of challenges this summer.
Our next speaker we'd like to invite here to the podium, Neil Fairlamb, Manchester City Council.
NEIL FAIRLAMB:  Thank you.  It sounds like quite a schedule over the summer, and I'm sure the Brits will rise to the occasion.
Firstly, on behalf of Manchester, I'd like to start by saying an absolute big thank you to the USAB for choosing our great sporting city, and I'm looking forward to what will be a fantastic weekend of sport and drama and top‑class basketball.
For those of you who don't know Manchester, let me give you a little bit of an insight.  It's the UK's first original modern city.  It's where the industrial revolution began, and it's the city that has culture and innovation and a proud sporting heritage.  We have two of the biggest football clubs in the world, and that's Manchester City and Manchester United, but not only that, we have the biggest basketball program in the UK.  So what you can expect in Manchester is an absolute passionate crowd who will really get behind the sport and support these games fully.
We also, you may not know, but we do have a tradition in Manchester for hosting major sporting events.  In 2002 we hosted the Commonwealth Games, and since the Commonwealth Games we've had 25 major worldwide sporting events come to Manchester.  We have a vibrant program of cultural events, conventions and festivals which attract over five million visitors to the city every year.  This impressive track record has resulted in the city receiving several international awards, including the award of Ultimate Sport City in 2010 at the prestigious Business Sports Awards.
We're proud of our sporting successes, and it's the success that drives many of our grass‑roots sports programs in sports, which is basketball.¬† We have a long‑standing commitment to the sport, which many young players travel distant shores and come to America to play in the collegiate system, and more recently a number of players have gone on to represent their country.
Arguably one of Manchester's biggest exports to the U.S. is the former NBA star John Amaechi.  In the UK players like John and Luol Deng are really inspiring a generation of people across the UK to take up the sport and to progress their talent.
I'm hopeful that the series of events that will happen over the summer will continue to grow the game across the UK and Manchester, and give more exposure to the sport.
Our three‑year partnership with the NBA is one that Manchester is incredibly proud of, having hosted the Women's NBA Atlanta Dream Team in Manchester in 2011, we are looking forward to welcoming some of the world's best players to our great city.¬† I am personally looking forward to players such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, on the female side, Sue Bird taking on the best of British.
Today's announcement will undoubtedly ignite the world's media and basketball fans in Barcelona and Manchester, across the UK and Europe and throughout the world.  We have an amazing arena in Manchester which will be bouncing with nearly 19,000 partners and fans.  The atmosphere will be first class, and I'm sure the basketball will live up to the billing.  This will be a truly unmissable series of events.
Finally I'd just like to say thank you to the NBA, to the USAB, my colleagues back in Manchester, the NBA staff in London who have worked really hard to bring these events together, so thank you, and I look forward to a fantastic summer ahead.
VINCE CELLINI:¬† Thank you very much.¬† I'm sure the exhibition games in Manchester will be a wonderful challenge and a great warm‑up.
Next up, I'd like to bring the Spanish Basketball Federation representative, Pepe Saez to say a few words.
PEPE SAEZ:  Good morning, dear friends.  Thank you all for being here today.  Thank you for USA Basketball and my friend Jerry Colangelo for giving us the chance to be here in Orlando, and congratulations, Marc.  This is an honor for the Spanish Basketball Federation to present the game against USA team to take place in Barcelona in the month of July.  This will be all of the biggest sporting event in 2012 in our country.
Barcelona is a cultural and sport reference in Spain, a city that hosted the first Dream Team of Jordan, Magic, Bird and so, so many other legends.  Just like we all remember, it happened during the Olympic games 20 years ago, and this game is the prologue to the London Olympic games with our British friends as hosts.
We'll be waiting for you in Barcelona.  Welcome to the international party, but first of all, welcome to Spain.  See you in July.  See you in Spain.  And Jerry, let the best team win.  Thank you.
VINCE CELLINI:  Thank you, Pepe.  Spanish basketball fans are a passionate group, and I'm sure there will be exciting games in Barcelona.
As mentioned, a competitor for Spain, one of the players who will try to compete and beat USA Basketball is with us, first‑time All‑Star Marc Gasol.¬† Could we have a couple of words with you?
Spain has built up quite a rivalry with the U.S. over the years, so what's it going to be like to have Argentina and Team USA playing in Barcelona?
MARC GASOL:  I think it's going to be a good starting point and a good preparation for the Olympics.  But again, at the end of the day you have to remember it's just preparation.  The real deal is going to be in London.  We hope to put on a great show for the fans all over the world.  Argentina is a great team, too, and it's going to be, I think, a great game.
VINCE CELLINI:¬† It's one thing to compete at the NBA level and certainly at the All‑Star level, but explain what it's like to be playing for national pride, as well, against these great players.
MARC GASOL:  It's huge.  You play with guys that you grew up with, and you play for the biggest prize there is, the gold medal, and you fight for your country.  And at the end of the day, it doesn't get much bigger than that.
VINCE CELLINI:  Can you talk to the emergence of Mr.Rubio in Minnesota and what he has meant to his team and Spanish basketball.
MARC GASOL:  First of all, he's fun to watch.  He makes everybody run, and I know his teammates will surely appreciate that because if you're open, he's going to hit you.  He's super unselfish.  He has that something.  He has that Ricky Rubio.
VINCE CELLINI:  Thank you very much.  Best of luck, Marc Gasol.
And that will conclude this morning's program.¬† There is going to be a brief photo opportunity with all the gentlemen you see here and also some media availability, and we thank you for being here this morning.¬† We want to thank NBA Entertainment and also our audience on NBA TV.¬† I'm Vince Cellini.¬† Thank you for being here, and enjoy the rest of your NBA All‑Star weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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