CORONADO, Calif. (AP) -- The fighter jets are gone from the flight deck, and in their place is a gleaming basketball court surrounded by bright green bleachers.
The temporary arena contrasts with the gray of the 100,000-ton Navy warship that buried Osama bin Laden at sea and will now host the first annual Carrier Classic.
Friday's historic basketball game between North Carolina and Michigan State aboard the USS Carl Vinson couldn't have come at a more opportune time for a Navy facing deep defense cuts.
Officials plan to seize the spotlight to showcase the Navy and its carriers to the more than 3 million viewers expected to watch the game on ESPN on Veterans Day.
But they add that the event's main purpose is to celebrate those who serve in the military.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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