The last time Charlotte hosted the NBA All-Star Game it took place the same day actress Emma Roberts was born (she of American Horror Story). It was when voters in Lithuania chose independence. Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” was a radio hit. Everyone was watching “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “The Cosby Show” and “Cheers” on TV. Bernard King was still an All-Star starter.
It’s been a while.
And they want it back.
A delegation of Charlotte officials have made their way to New York on Tuesday, after a splashy press conference, to formally announce (what we reported yesterday), that Charlotte will bid to host the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game.
“The overwhelming support for the Hornets during their playoff run and rebranding has proven the passion Charlotte has for the NBA. And the worldwide fan base of the NBA makes this a perfect opportunity to showcase Charlotte and Time Warner Cable Arena on a global stage, said Will Webb, Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director in a released statement.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had said before the league would be interested, but upgrades to the Time Warner Arena would need to be made. Those upgrades — a partnership between the city and the Hornets ownership group — will submit plans for those upgrades next month, officials said at the press conference.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan is pushing to win back this market, one that had been stopped on and turned into a wasteland by the two previous franchise owners in that city. A winning team — the Bobcats made the playoffs last season then landed Lance Stephenson this summer — is a key step. An All-Star Game wouldn’t hurt.
It was said at the press conference that between eight and 10 teams are expected to bid to host either the 2017 or 2018 All-Star Games. The league will likely eliminate a few based on its criteria — enough hotel rooms close to the city (not 30 miles away), a convention space to host the NBA All-Star Jam Session (the side events with basketball games and activities), plus of course the arena and its amenities. It is expected the list will quickly get down to three or four venues to be considered.
However it will be the fall of 2015 before there is an announcement.
The 2015 All-Star Game is in New York and Brooklyn, the 2016 game is in Toronto.
The Baller and Chief is on his way out the door.
Barack Obama has been by far the biggest hoops fan to inhabit the White House (with John Quincy Adams a very distant second). He’s put up a basketball court at the White House, filled out NCAA Tournament brackets, jokingly applied for the Wizards’ coaching job, thought about becoming an owner, gone to NBA games, and just been a fan like the rest of us.
And he’s picking the Warriors to win it all. Like everyone else.
In what was primarily a “get out the vote” effort, President Obama called in to ‘Sway in the Morning’ hosted by Sway Calloway on Eminem’s SiriusXM channel Shade 45. Asked to pick the next NBA champ, the Bulls fan went exactly where everyone else did — Golden State.
“I’m going to go with the Warriors just because of [Kevin] Durant, that addition. I think they just have too much firepower,” Obama said. “Although they just got spanked in their first game, so it will take a while to figure things out.”
Obama also picked the Patriots to win the NFL title. He’s such a frontrunner.
With rumors of NBA expansion swirling, it’s time to look at more concrete evidence.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly shot down expansion talk, and that’s not him going rogue. His bosses have apparently taken a firm stance.
Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
Basketball Insiders reached out to an NBA owner and a voting member of the Board of Governors and was told flatly that any talk of expansion has been shot down at every turn inside the Board of Governors meetings. It’s been a non-starter.
There is a theoretical one-time expansion fee so high where the current 30 owners would divide their shares of revenue further. But the NBA takes in so much annually, it’s hard to imagine a new ownership group could and would front enough money.
Sorry, Seattle (and Louisville and Las Vegas and…). The evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of the league staying at 30 teams. You’ll probably just have to poach a team from another city.
Greg Oden’s multiple injuries dictated the former No. 1 pick wouldn’t have the career forecasted for him.
But he returned from three years off an NBA court to play for the Heat in 2014. He followed that breakthrough with a couple tryouts and a stint in China.
Could he once again return to the league?
Dana Hunsinger Benbow of IndyStar:
Asked whether he’d play basketball again, he said, “I wish. It’s over.” Instead, he is back with the Buckeyes as a student coach, helping out the players and Matta any way he can.
Oden, who was picked one spot before Kevin Durant, once declared: “I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things.” That statement is blunt, reality and sad all wrapped into one.
It’s a shame we never got to see Oden healthy for long. There was good reason for the Trail Blazers to pick him first, but injuries ruined what could’ve been an intriguing extend debate over him and Durant.
Hopefully, Oden finds fulfillment in the next chapter of his life.
The Cavaliers landing the No. 1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft seemed like a fairytale.
The consensus top choice and one of the most-hyped prospects of all-time was a local kid from nearby Akron, LeBron James.
But this happy accident didn’t come through rainbows and butterflies. To get the top seed in the lottery, Cleveland had to get bad – really bad. The Cavs missed the playoffs five straight years, bottoming out at 17-65 in 2002-03.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
When James was a teenager, he started attending games at the arena, and he couldn’t believe how bad the Cavs were, how empty the arena often was, with its bright blue seats seeming like a neon sign of disinterest. During his senior year of high school, he went to several games, was given courtside seats and visited the locker room. His thought was pretty clear after he watched that 17-win team with the lowest attendance in the league: They were awful, and he didn’t want to be a part of it.
Can we be surprised someone who grew up in Akron, Ohio, as a Bulls, Yankees and Cowboys fan didn’t want to join the Cavs? LeBron was a frontrunner.
What he didn’t realize at the time: He’d gain the power to singlehandedly transform a franchise, and he’d develop an emotional attachment to the Cavaliers.
Cleveland wasn’t going to remain unwatchable with him. He turned the Cavs into a credible championship contender. Then, after leaving for the Heat, he returned. He even delivered delivered its long-awaited title last season.
The tears of joy he cried afterward show just how much that area, including its NBA team, means to him.
That he was initially sour on the Cavaliers adds an interesting twist to the story. It doesn’t detract from it.