HOUSTON: The Cavaliers are expected to submit a proposal to bring the NBA All-Star Game back to Cleveland during either the 2016 or 2017 season, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert told the Beacon Journal.
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver visited Cleveland last week to explore the feasibility of bringing the All-Star Game back to the city and encouraged the Cavs to bid on a future game.
The All-Star Game was last in Cleveland in 1997, when the league assembled the 50 greatest players of all time.
“We had a great experience when we were there in ’97,” Silver said. “We would love to return to Cleveland.”
And Gilbert would love to have them.
“The league is very receptive and open to it,” Gilbert said. “As soon as this [All-Star weekend] is over, we’ll start talking more seriously about it.
“The city would be unreal. It would be a great weekend.”
Silver met with Gilbert and his staff last Friday. One of the questions that must be answered is whether the city has enough available hotel rooms to accommodate the event, which has grown considerably in the last 16 years since Cleveland hosted. Gilbert didn’t have the numbers in front of him and doesn’t know yet if the city has the proper accommodations. But since the game wouldn’t come for another three or four years, Gilbert is confident the city would be ready.
Next year’s game is slated for New Orleans and Silver confirmed Saturday both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have submitted proposals already for 2015. Silver said it was likely the game is headed to one of the two New York venues in two years.
Gilbert would like to have the second phase of his casino open before an All-Star Game. There is no timeline for the second phase to open, but Gilbert said there is a meeting next month to address the progress.
With the new medical mart and convention center coming, Gilbert thinks Cleveland would be a great host city.
“I’d say this is a major initiative,” Gilbert said.
Commissioner David Stern, who is retiring next February, called that moment his second-favorite All-Star memory behind only awarding Magic Johnson the Most Valuable Player award following the 1992 game, after Johnson retired because of the HIV.
“As the executive producer of that moment, that is a close second [to Johnson’s MVP game],” Stern said of the ’97 game in Cleveland. “To get those 49 guys, and we knew it was the last time we were ever going to get them together like that, and to put them in a jacket of the team that they represented, that was a big thrill, too.”
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.