New York, NY (February 18, 2005) – New York’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 will receive a huge boost during NBA All-Star 2005 in Denver this upcoming Saturday and Sunday, February 19th and 20th.  Olympic champion Justin Gatlin (Athletics: 2004 – Gold, Silver, Bronze), as well as six members of the 2004 Gold Medal USA Women’s Basketball team will be on hand in support of NYC2012, as the world’s best basketball players square off in the annual All-Star spectacular.

New York’s bid will be featured during the All-Star Game on the Jumbotron and in public service announcements televised to 212 countries through the NBA’s world feed.  Gatlin will participate on Sunday morning in the Celebrity Shootout at NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Nokia and he will join WNBA stars and Olympic champions Lisa Leslie (1996 Gold, 2000 Gold, 2004 Gold) and Swin Cash (2004 Gold) and be available for media interviews.

“With its unique character, remarkably diverse culture and rich sports history, New York would provide an excellent home for The Olympic Games in 2012,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern.  “New Yorkers are passionate about sports. Just as our NBA and WNBA players who hail from all over the world are warmly received, we are sure that athletes representing every sport and country would find a hometown cheering section in New York in 2012.”  

Commissioner Stern will be a presenter on behalf of New York City to the International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission that will be in town from February 21-24 to review and inspect the City’s proposed Olympic plan.  

Gatlin states: “It will be amazing to witness the greatest basketball players in the world performing in Denver this weekend.  New York looks forward to hosting and welcoming the greatest athletes in the world in 2012. The experience that would await them in New York would be amazing!”

The leading vote-getter for Sunday’s All-Star Game, Houston Rockets’ center Yao Ming, a two-time Olympian from China, recently weighed in on New York’s extraordinary passion for sports and their support of athletes from around the world: “I can still remember my first game in New York in February of 2003.  That night, I was unprepared for the kind of welcome that awaited me. We were playing against the home team, the New York Knicks, but listening to the fans cheer and scream, you wouldn’t know which was the home team. They cheered for us with the same passion and intensity. There were so many fans from New York’s Chinatown. They were wearing red and holding up signs in mandarin urging the crowd to cheer for me. It was heartwarming to see so many familiar faces among the crowd.”

New York is competing against four other cities for the right to host the Olympic Games in 2012: London, Madrid, Moscow and Paris. The International Olympic Committee will name the Host City for the 2012 Games on July 6, 2005.