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Countdown Week to STAPLES Center Grand Opening... Stars Were Shining Brightly at LA's STAPLES Center, as Star Plaza Unveiled

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Los Angeles is home to many world famous stars but today Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS) honored L.A.'s real stars -- people who volunteer their time to improve our quality of life in the Southland. Tim Lieweke, president of STAPLES Center, joined with 80 Staples Community Star honorees to unveil the Star Plaza at STAPLES Center and reveal personalized porcelain stars permanently displayed at the main entrance of the arena.

On February 4, 1999, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined Staples Inc. in launching the Staples Community Stars program that would search for people throughout Southern California who have made outstanding contributions in the communities surrounding Staples retail stores. "After selecting from among hundreds of nominees, Staples is proud to honor 80 individuals who have demonstrated an unselfish humanitarian spirit that takes action to positively impact the lives of others," said Tom Stemberg, president and CEO, Staples.

"The people we have honored here today, make a significant contribution to our society," said Tim Lieweke, president of STAPLES Center.

He continued, "STAPLES Center is proud to be a part of paying tribute to the stars that live and work in our community." In addition to purchasing the porcelain star, Staples made a $1,000 donation in the name of each honoree to the non-profit organization of their choice.

Meet a few of the Staples Community Stars:

-- Evangelyn Nathan is a volunteer Big Sister and detective for the Los

Angeles Police Department who donates her time as a mentor to a girl

in need of love and guidance.

-- Mario Nugara, a 1991 Fulbright scholar who after many years in a

        successful dance career, founded City of Angels Ballet to provide
        world class ballet training free of charge to children in Pico Union
        and other neighborhoods surrounding STAPLES Center.
    --  Cynthia Rodriguez is a rape hotline volunteer and new-volunteer
        trainer at the Rape Hotline for the East Los Angeles Women's Center.
        Cynthia believes she has a responsibility to provide services that
        were not available when she was sexually assaulted 30 years ago.
    --  Harry Shabazian, a teacher at Boyle Heights Continuation School,
        challenged six students who also happened to be gang members, to run
        in the Los Angeles Marathon.  The program-Students Run L.A.-was so
        successful that in 1998, 99% of the students that participated earned
        their high school diploma.
    --  The Smith Family for the last eight years delivered meals to people
        disabled by AIDS in the Hollywood community.  The entire family --
        parents Patricia and Terral and all six children from youngster LeRoy
        to teenager Glen -- participate as volunteers for Project Angel Food.

STAPLES Center officially opens the evening of October 17 with a concert starring Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Home of the Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, STAPLES Center will host the 42nd Grammy Awards, the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and the 2002 U.S. Figure Skating Championship. Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, STAPLES Center is a new state-of-the art sports and entertainment arena featuring nationally prominent entertainment spectacular, concerts and family shows.

Staples, Inc. is a $7 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and business from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has over 46,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,000 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. Staples is the proud naming rights partner of Los Angeles' new sports and entertainment arena, STAPLES Center. More information about the company is available at

SOURCE Staples Inc.