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.
This story requires a little background.
The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!
Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.
In a proxy Knicks/Clippers battle, MSG may sue to Clippers and Inglewood in an attempt to block the new building. Here is what Dolan’s attorney in the case, Marvin Putnam, told the Daily Breeze in Los Angeles.
“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”
(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.
Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.
It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.
I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.
But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.
He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.
The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.
Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.
He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):
We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.
The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.
But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.
Not that Lin cares what I say.
When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.
But there were some great blocks.
Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.