All Star Weekend Makes a Slam Dunk for Orlando

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Orlando was the Proud Host of the NBA's 2012 All Star Game

[Editor’s Note:  LanceAroundOrlando is pleased to introduce our newest correspondent–AnaBanana. As a lifelong resident of Central Florida, young AnaBanana is perfectly suited to share her view of this wonderful area that provides so much ‘more than a mouse’™. We sometimes like to tease AnaBanana because she is short and petite with an infectiously bubbly personality; but don’t underestimate her. She packs a lot of energy into a little body. Just how small is AnaBanana? Well, she recently gave birth to her first child and we are starting an office pool to guess how many more days it will be before the baby is bigger than her!–LanceAround ]

Introducing AnaBanana

Hello LanceAroundOrlando readers! Since I haven’t had the opportunity to personally meet you, I just wanted to say how awesome it is to get to share my thoughts with all of you remarkable people. I was born and raised in Central Florida, home of Mickey, Minnie, Shamu, and now Harry Potter! Growing up, all anyone ever hears about is the Theme Parks; I’ve been hearing it for years and years! No one seems to remember us Sports Enthusiasts.

Those of us who enjoy basketball take that with a grain of salt. Whoever said Orlando was all about the mouse probably never thought they would see the day when the NBA All Star Weekend would make its return to the City Beautiful!

For all you readers who are Basketball Enthusiasts and who share my excitement, you understand the importance and honor this brings. Every Basketball Enthusiast believes their favorite team is a hero of some sort. I will not be one to disappoint in this aspect. This past year has been a big year for our Hometown Heroes with the closing and scheduled destruction of the old Amway Arena (which was the home of the Magic for 22 seasons) to the opening of the colossal Amway Center (which has been called the best basketball venue in the world.) Then, finally, the announcement that Orlando would host the epic All Star Weekend for the first time since 1992. I recall that the 1992 All Star Weekend was hailed as one for the history books, with few other All Star Weekends even coming close to rivaling it. Unfortunately, for me, I was just a baby when the All Star Weekend was last in my beautiful hometown. However, for every one who was old enough to enjoy the festivities, you may remember the return of the legendary Magic Johnson who had retired in late 1991 after his contraction of HIV. So the question remaining on the tip of every tongue was, “How would Orlando rise to the occasion this year?”

I, for one, can say that the City Beautiful rose to the challenge magnificently. For weeks before the hordes of fans and countless celebrities arrived the city was buzzing with preparations; making our city even more beautiful and, most importantly, safe for everyone coming to enjoy the festivities. Now most of us here can only dream of being courtside at the All Star game (or even in the nosebleed seats.) Thankfully, for us there were a ton of celebrity hosted events all around the city, ranging from charity volunteer events to unforgettable club nights. Needless to say All Star Weekend brought everything it promised to Orlando.

All Star Weekend showcased many of the awesome things Orlando has to offer; hosting events such as the All Sports All Art Sports Fan Happy Hour which showcased sports related artworks. Also Thursday night Dwayne Wade and Orlando’s own Superman Dwight Howard hosted events at Club Vain and Club Roxy kicking off All Star Weekend in spectacular fashion. Undeniably one of the most memorable events was the concert that took place in front of the Amway Center, preceding the All Star game. Fans stood shoulder to shoulder as they got to hear incredible performances from chart topping artists, two of the most memorable being Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj.

For those of us who could only hope and dream of going to see the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, the three point shoot out, the slam dunk contest, and/or the skills challenge, the charity and club events provided us with a way to get the most out of the weekend as well! When I say those of us, I include myself because, unfortunately due to some unforeseen super complicating circumstances, I got to enjoy hearing stories about the festivities from family and friends but could not attend them personally. For those of you who are just as green eyed as I am, I hope to see you in Houston next year for All Star Weekend 2013!

Now Orlando is getting back to as “normal” as we get, with the Spring Break crowds invading and the super busy Easter tourist week ahead. But the Slam Dunk that All Star weekend made will not soon be forgotten.

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