SPORTS

CN Tower plays a starring role in logo for 2016 NBA all-star game in Toronto

05/27/2015 02:04 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - From her fourth floor window in the offices of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Shannon Hosford has a direct view of the CN Tower.

So, when the NBA was designing the logo for the 2016 all-star game in Toronto from their offices in New York, all she had to do was take a look out her window to check how accurate their designs were.

"They'd be sending me comps, and I'd be like 'Nope. It looks too much like . . . Change it,'" said Hosford, MLSE's vice-president of marketing and communications. "We were going back and forth on the logo comps, it was pretty funny."

The iconic structure that dominates Toronto's skyline plays a starring role in the 2016 NBA all-star logo unveiled Wednesday at the CN Tower. The words "All-Star Toronto" encircle the top of the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere. The logo features the Raptors' red and black, and the NBA's blue and red.

Toronto will host the 65th NBA all-star game on Feb. 14, at the Air Canada Centre, marking the first time the event has been held outside of the U.S.

MLSE bid on the game three years ago as part of a campaign to make the game more global, said Hosford. The plan also included appointing Drake as the Raptors' global ambassador, and the "We the North" marketing campaign.

"The all-star we were a little concerned about, were they going to come over the border?" Hosford said. "It was all part of putting us on the global map for basketball, which is just so important for us as a city and a country. It's a fantastic opportunity for us to show the world what Toronto and Canada is all about. Get away from all the stereotypes and really showcase who we are."

The event also coincides with the 125th anniversary of the invention of the game by Canadian James Naismith. Toronto was also host of the first game in NBA history in 1946.

"What better place than Toronto as an international hub to have the game, with the huge influx of immigration that comes through Toronto every year and the passion for basketball in the city," said Dan MacKenzie, NBA Canada's VP and managing director. "And then you layer in the state of the game — it's really at a zenith right now — with 12 Canadian players (in the NBA), the most we've ever had.

"Then you figure in the last two No. 1 draft picks were Canadian (Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins), it's just a fantastic time for basketball in this country right now, it really is the perfect time."

A secondary 2016 all-star logo is that of a Raptors-coloured black and red tuque, featuring a claw-marked star within the tuque's pom-pom.

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