ATLANTA (AP) _ The Atlanta Hawks will play host to the 52nd NBA All-Star game in 2003, the second time the city has staged the event.

The league said Tuesday that the game itself would be played Feb. 9 at Philips Arena as the central event of All-Star weekend festivities.

The game also was played in Atlanta in 1978, where 15,491 fans watched at the Omni as the East defeated the West 133-125. Randy Smith of the Buffalo Braves was the game's MVP with 27 points and seven rebounds.

The Philadelphia 76ers and the First Union Center will stage the 2002 festivities from Feb. 8-10. The Atlanta weekend program, which also includes skills competition, will run Feb. 7-9.