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Indianapolis Is Planning NBA All-Star Celebration

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Associated Press

Exhibitions by Olympic gold medalists and Mickey Mouse are included in a 10-day series of events planned in connection with the 35th annual National Basketball Assn. All-Star game.

Details of the events, including ceremonies featuring gold medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton before the Feb. 10 game, were announced Tuesday.

Also included in the schedule is the first high school basketball games to be played in the Hoosier Dome on Feb. 2.

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A record crowd of about 38,000 is expected for the Feb. 10 All-Star game, which was moved to the Hoosier Dome from Market Square Arena in anticipation of a large ticket demand.

A pre-game program, scheduled to last nearly an hour, will include a 10-minute children’s salute to basketball starring Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck. Also included is music by a 100-piece All-Star College band and a special 100-piece tuba band.

The West Point Cadet Glee Club will sing the national anthem and the presentation of the colors will feature the unveiling of a 75x40-foot American flag made up by thousands of red, white and blue ballons that will hang during the game.

After the anthem, a group of 16,000 ticket-holders in the upper deck will participate in flash card stunts--producing pictures of the American flag, the NBA logo and others.

“It was our intent to start a new generation of All-Star games for the NBA,” said Bob Salyers, president of the host Indiana Pacers. “Luckily enough the new commissioner, David Stern, was anxious to approach the project from the same standpoint. He recognized that unlike the NFL (National Football League) we didn’t have the opportunity to set up a “Super Bowl” event.”

Salyers explained that the NBA doesn’t know where its league championship games will be played and when they’ll be played until the last moment.

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“The All-Star game became a focus point and the Indiana Pacers, Mel Simon and Associates (the club’s owners) and the City of Indianapolis welcomed the opportunity to really grab on to what is going to be setting the standard for All-Star games in the future,” he said.

The activities begin Feb. 1 with an All-Star Sports, Health & Fitness Show at the Hoosier Dome. The three-day show will include exhibits, testing equipment, demonstrations by Olympic gymnasts Bart Conner and Mitch Gaylord along with swimmer Tracy Caulkins.

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