The NBA Should Consider These Cities for Future All-Star Games

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Friday night the 2015 NBA All-Star weekend tips off in the NYC/Brooklyn area. The League’s midseason celebration is by far the best All-Star showcase of the major four American pro sports leagues. The 2016 All-Star weekend is already set for Toronto—for the first time outside of the continental U.S.—which I’m all for. But, I am tired of the league’s premier event being hosted in the same select cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix and New Orleans multiple times in a short span. So I decided to look at cities where the mid-season classic could visit in the near future and why they’d best for the league.

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Cleveland hosted the 1997 NBA All-Star weekend celebrating the NBA at 50. Photo Courtesy: Peggy Turbett/The Plain Dealer.

Cleveland 2017 – While Cleveland isn’t necessarily the place you want to be in the middle of winter, it is a great sports city and with the return of the NBA’s best player in LeBron James, that will be on full display as he continues in the prime of his career there.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is actively attempting to lure the NBA to Cleveland for the 2017 All-Star weekend. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has recently visited Cleveland to explore the feasibility of bringing the All-Star Game back to Northeast Ohio. “We had a great experience when we were there in ’97,” Silver told the Beacon Journal. “We would love to return to Cleveland.”

As mentioned, Cleveland hosted the All Star Festivities in 1997, which was the 50th Anniversary of the league. The city has grown much since then and has the venues to host such a highly attended event.

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Chicago hasn’t hosted the All-Star Weekend since 1988 when MJ won the Dunk Contest and the game’s MVP. Photo Courtesy: The Associated Press.

Chicago 2018 – This will mark 30 years since the weekend of MJ. In February 1988, Michael Jordan was in the midst of one of the greatest seasons of all time when he averaged 35 ppg, 5.9 apg , 5.5 rpg, 3.2 spg on his way to winning the league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year.

While his Airness was already being regarded as a Top 5 player, this one weekend in February can be viewed as when he ascended to a global icon. He won the dunk contest (albeit controversial) while breaking out his iconic Air Jordan III sneaker and he took home the Mid season classic’s MVP award after posting 40 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks and 3 assists in only 29 minutes.

What better way to once again honor the greatest player ever, by recognizing this moment. Plus, the Windy City hasn’t hosted the event since 1988, which is odd considering it’s one of the top 3 markets in America and is rich in basketball history on all levels.

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South Florida has hosted several major sporting events, but only once has it has the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Miami 2019 – South Beach in February. Let me say that again, South Beach in February. The ultimate party town, hosting the NBA’s ultimate party event.

I am surprised it hasn’t been back since 1990 when the Heat weren’t even relevant. At that time you had to think former Commissioner David Stern selected South Florida to showcase one of his newest franchises as the Heat were only in its first season. But now after being in five NBA Finals in a span of eight years, Miami is a perfect match for the league. Even though they have fans more fickle than the weather down there during tropical storm season.

The city boast an extremely upscale arena, venues and plenty of hotels accommodations and more than adequate means to travel across town. Seems like a slam dunk or a Ray Allen corner three in game six of the 2013 NBA Finals.

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OKC has premier franchise and the city has embraced the NBA wholeheartedly.

Oklahoma City 2020 – Assuming the Thunder keep both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the fold, OKC will still be an attractive draw. The Heartland doesn’t get much respect from basketball purist and OKC is always disrespected—isn’t that right Sir Charles Barkley? But this is a chance for the NBA to reward this city for how it not only has received the Thunder and made it a great atmosphere for basketball, but also for how the community received the New Orleans Hornets—now Pelicans—when they took refuge after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the “Crescent City.”

Also with the NBA cares events done during the weekend, this will be a great opportunity for the league and its partners to help continue to rebuild this area that’s still reeling after the tragic tornado that struck in the spring of 2013.

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Who wouldn’t want to go to a party hosted by MJ?

Charlotte 2021 – The Hornets are back home where they belong and so should the game for the first time since 1991. MJ would be the host and who wouldn’t want to go to a party hosted by his Airness? Nothing else needs to be said.

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Memphis is rich in Civil Rights and hoops history that would be on full display during NBA All-Star history.

Memphis 2020 – If you’ve never been, you don’t know what your missing. From the barbecue to the nightlife, music and tourist attractions such as the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. King was assassinated, to Graceland the home of Elvis Presley; Memphis would be a great host for All-Star weekend. By the way, “The River City” is also a hot bed for hoops.

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Seattle is eager for the NBA to return.

Seattle, WA – Depending on who you are this may seem like trolling, but let me explain why this would be a win-win for the league and Seattle hoop fans.

The League needs to make a true showing that they really want to bring a team back to Seattle. Since the Sonics were hijacked and taken to Oklahoma City, Seattle has been mentioned as a possible destination for owners looking to scare their current cities into upgrading or building new arenas. Commissioner Silver has said he’d like to bring a team back to the city by expansion or an existing franchise. This will go a long way in proving he’s serious.

For the fans and city leaders, this will be their opportunity to show that their love for NBA basketball has not dissipated in the absence of their beloved Sonics. Players will get a chance to see what NBA life in the “Emerald City” will be like.

It shouldn’t matter that Seattle doesn’t currently have a team, that precedent was already set when the NBA took the All-Star festivities to Las Vegas in 2007.

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