In this Sept. 3, 2003 file photo, work continues on the Toyota Center less than 24 hours before the ribbon-cutting ceremony in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The NBA All-Star Game is officially returning to Houston.

NBA Commissioner David Stern was in town Wednesday to make the announcement with Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Rockets CEO Tad Brown at Toyota Center. The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be played Sunday, February 17, 2013 at the home of the Rockets, less than a decade after the last time the all-stars took the court here.

"Houston is a spectacular sports city, and for one week it will be the basketball capital of the world," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "NBA All-Star is a magnificent celebration of our game, and I want to thank the city and the Rockets for welcoming us once again."

Toyota Center will also host the NBA Rising Stars Challenge which features the league's top rookies and second-year players, and NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm featuring the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk contest.

Hosting this event for Houston should be no problem -- the template is there after the Super Bowl, World Series, Final Four and MLB All-Star Game.

Mayor Parker said, "Houston knows how to show visitors a good time and we can't wait to pamper NBA fans with our southern hospitality and charm. I wish the NBA and all of its fans an unforgettable stay in Houston."

All-Star weekend is a big "cha-ching" for the Houston economy and great exposure for the city as the game is televised worldwide into 200 countries.

As we reported back in August 2011, the Rockets were shooting for the 2014 All-Star Game, but found out the 2013 game became available.

This will be the third time Houston has hosted the game. The first time was back in 1989 at the Astrodome and the hardwood classic was last played in the Bayou City in 2006.

As for other weekend activities, the NBA All-Star Jam Session will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Fans will have chance to meet and collect free autographs from NBA players and legends; fans can shoot, slam, dribble and drive all day; compete against their friends in skills challenges; or get basketball tips from NBA players and legends. Young fans can hang out at Kids Zone with hoops and interactive activities that are the perfect size for kids' slam dunks, three-pointers and jump shots.

Jam Session also features the NBA's favorite players, mascots, dance teams and celebrities as they hit Center Court in a variety of basketball competitions, including the NBA All-Star Practice and the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

This year's game will be played the weekend of February 24-26 in Orlando, Florida.

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houston rockets, nba, toyota center, nba
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