Reports emerged online Thursday afternoon that the NBA would announce Chicago as the designated location for the 2020 All-Star Game as soon as Friday.
Given the credible sources reporting this development it seems that it is actually a reality, all we’re waiting for is the official confirmation from the league — this is certainly a welcome development to say the least and its come with an expected amount of excitement from followers of the game here in the city.
To put it as concise as our D & Davis Instagram says — its about damn time!!! And that’s far from an overstatement.
It’s not been known why exactly it’s taken so long for the game, which whips its way efficiently around the major outposts of the Association, to reach Chicago again. Twenty cities have hosted the game since Chicago last did, including one city — Las Vegas — which has never had an NBA franchise. Six cities have had it multiple times including New Orleans having it twice in the last four years.
We’ve mostly been privy to guesses and inside reports regarding Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf’s distaste for hosting the game, which the Bulls last hosted in 1988 early in his reign as the franchise’s owner and well before the Bulls became the brightest light in the NBA galaxy.
Of course the Bulls still had star power then, really the most exciting young star in the league at the time in Michael Jordan and he used the weekend he hosted All-Star to further his burgeoning status as a icon in the game.
Ask anyone what they remember from the ’88 All-Star game and they will start with the Dunk Contest and MJs showdown with Dominique Wilkins, who certainly deserved his credit in making that moment memorable (as well as at least half of that trophy in the eyes of many). MJs 40 points and MVP won in the actual game can’t be forgotten either.
As the 1990s dawned and Mike and the Bulls became more and more essential to the NBA experience it seemed natural that Chicago would host another mid-season showcase sometime soon, but the entire Bulls dynasty passed, the 90s passed as did the aughts and the teens will eventually pass too. The Bulls have died, ressurrected and died again in that time — they’ll likely still be in that resurrection process by Feburary 2020.
That fact makes this announcement interesting. Some would say that the current down period for the franchise, expected to be a lengthy one, may have factored into the league placing the game back here, or in a new willingness for the franchise to have the game here.
It wasn’t enough to open a new building as they did with the United Center in 1994, or build intriguing classes of Baby Bulls in 2004 and 2008 — including one of the most electrifying No. 1 picks in the post-Jordan era — or lead the East in wins from 2010 to 2012. It’s only now with Lauri Markkenen and Justin Holliday leading the team that Chicago gets this gift again. Funny how these things come about.
No matter the timing, it shouldn’t dampen the excitement and possibilities as our city continues to prepare for this far off weekend, which will be a lot different than it was in ’88.
The rise in media of all kinds, the all-encompassing coverage and presence of TNT and ESPN during the weekend, the entrenchment of the Hip-Hop and urban entertainment industries within the NBA culture — all these things and more make NBA all-star weekend a time when most aspects of modern black culture shine like no other and within Black History Month no less.
Chicago’s status as a haven for black culture shouldn’t be overlooked and our devotion to basketball, an lifelong persuit for so many of us born and raised here, plays a major part in that.
It is tantalizing to think of just how all that will play out come 2020 — how will Zach LaVine and Chance the Rapper and Common and Scottie Pippen and Craig Hodges and Scoop Jackson and John Paxson and Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama and Mike and dozens of others connected to our game and our city be shown and showcased?
Should be fun, could be crazy, may even be worth the 30 year wait.
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