Washington to Host All-Star Game Again

By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For the second time since 2002, Washington will serve as the host city for the WNBA All-Star Game. This season's game will take place July 15 at Verizon Center.

Washington will join New York as the only cities to host the all-star game twice. New York's Madison Square Garden has been the site for three all-star contests, including last summer's.

This summer's event also will include the Dribble, Dish & Swish Skills Challenge and a three-point shootout. Coaches and players also will participate in several community events around the Washington area.

"Bringing the WNBA All-Star Game to Washington is a reward for our fans and testament to what a great market this is for women's basketball," said Sheila Johnson, president and managing partner of the Washington Mystics. "We look forward to hosting the greatest players in the world, and this is a fitting occasion for the Mystics as we celebrate 10 years in Washington."

The Mystics finished 18-16 last season and lost to the Connecticut Sun in the first round of the playoffs. They open the season on May 19, against Connecticut.

The Mystics regularly rank among the league leaders in attendance and have one of the strongest fan bases in the WNBA.

"I think it's really fitting that the game will take place here, in the city where perhaps the greatest victory for female athletes was won and those of you who have benefited directly from this will know that it's Title IX," WNBA President Donna Orender said. "For those Washington Mystics fans who continuously e-mail me to say when is it coming, it's here, okay? It's gonna be great, I can tell you that."

The 13-team WNBA is entering its 11th season. The Charlotte franchise recently folded, leaving the Mystics as one of six teams in the Eastern Conference. Tickets for this summer's all-star game are on sale now and can be purchased through http://www.wnba.com and at Verizon Center's box office.

Washington Mayor Adrian M. Fenty joined several players and team and league officials for a news conference yesterday at Verizon Center.

"There are no greater fans in the country than fans in the District of Columbia; certainly they've showed this by not just their allegiance but their cult-like following of the Mystics," Fenty said. "My staff was asking me if I needed any talking points. I said I don't think so, all I want to do is tell everyone to visit the District of Columbia and spend money."

© 2007 The Washington Post Company