CHICAGO – (Staff report from Official news announcement) – Chicago was selected to host NBA All-Star 2020, according to an announcement made by the league Commissioner in conjunction with the Chicago Bulls and the city. The 69th annual game will take place at the United Center, home of the six-time NBA champion Bulls, on Sunday, Feb. 16. The exhibition will mark the third NBA All-Star in Chicago, which held the annual basketball event in 1973 and 1988.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement during a press conference at the United Center. He was joined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Bulls President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson, Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. (27th Ward) and Chicago Sports Commission Executive Director Kara Bachman.
“Chicago is an iconic city with a storied basketball history. We are thrilled to bring the NBA All-Star Game back,” said Silver. “We thank Mayor Emanuel, Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf and the entire Bulls organization and look forward to an exciting week of activities celebrating the game of basketball.”
Michael Jordan (23)
Chicago will follow Los Angeles in 2018 and Charlotte in 2019 as All-Star host. NBA All-Star Game 2017 in New Orleans reached fans in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.
“We are honored that the NBA has selected Chicago to host All-Star 2020,” said Michael Reinsdorf. “Because the game of basketball has such deep roots and a rich history in this city, with some of the most passionate sports fans in the country, we know it will be a successful event for everyone involved. Our expanded United Center campus and arena renovations with new restaurants and retail will provide visitors the opportunity to enjoy a fan-friendly environment.”
“Chicago is looking forward to hosting NBA All-Star 2020 and welcoming players and fans from across the country and around the world to our great city,” said Emanuel. “Chicago is a global hub for sports, entertainment and culture. Bringing the NBA All-Star Game back to the city for the first time in over three decades is a win for our city, our businesses and fans of all ages who will have the chance to be part of one of basketball’s biggest events.”
In addition to the All-Star Game, the United Center will be the venue for the Rising Stars Challenge – an annual showcase for top rookies and second-year players – on Friday, Feb. 14, as well as State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which features the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the JBL Three-Point Contest and the Verizon Slam Dunk. In 2020, TNT will be televising the All-Star Game in prime time for the 18th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 35th year of All-Star coverage.
The new Wintrust Arena, home of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky starting next season, will host the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and Rising Stars and All-Star Game practices. In partnership with the Chicago Sports Commission, the NBA will also hold several events for fans of all ages at venues throughout the city, including Navy Pier. These events will feature interactive programming that brings fans closer to NBA and WNBA players and legends.
“It’s a true privilege, as well as a testament to Chicago’s great basketball history, to be selected to host NBA All-Star 2020,” said Bachman. “Chicago’s dedicated and experienced hoteliers will welcome the NBA and NBA fans in true Midwestern spirit. NBA fans will have the opportunity to experience the renovated and expanded United Center campus, the brand-new Wintrust Arena and Chicago’s landmark Navy Pier, which will host a variety of events for the local fans.”
During NBA All-Star 2020, the NBA will continue to celebrate its tradition and commitment to social responsibility with a full schedule of NBA Cares events. Through partnerships with schools, government and local nonprofit organizations in Chicago and surrounding areas, the league will reach thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.
Chicago last hosted NBA All-Star in 1988, when the Bulls’ Michael Jordan electrified his hometown crowd at Chicago Stadium. He outdueled the Atlanta Hawks’ Dominique Wilkins to win a spectacular Slam Dunk Contest, and the next day Jordan scored 40 points to earn MVP honors in the Eastern Conference’s 138-133 victory over the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. The weekend also featured a third consecutive Three-Point Contest title for the Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird, who famously raised a finger in the air in celebration before his final, competition-clinching shot dropped through the net.
During the Windy City’s debut as NBA All-Star host, the East defeated the West 104-84 in the 1973 midwinter classic at the old Chicago Stadium. Boston’s Dave Cowens was named MVP after leading the East with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Los Angeles Lakers teammates Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, who combined for 27 All-Star selections, each appeared in an All-Star Game for the last time.