INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Larry Bird and the Indiana Pacers are taking their best shot at pitching Indianapolis as a host city for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
The Pacers president and the group bidding to the host the game and all-star weekend festivities delivered their proposal Monday at NBA headquarters in New York.
The bid includea a specially themed and retrofitted IndyCar that Bird somehow managed to squeeze into.
It’s been a long time since Indy hosted the All-Star Game—1985, to be exact. The venue was the Hoosier Dome!
In December, NBA commissioner Adam Silver spent time with team officials after attending the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pacers’ $50 million practice facility. When the Pacers played in London back in January, Silver indicated that it was “highly likely” that the league would return to Indianapolis for an All-Star Game “in the near future.”
An estimated 43,000 people attended the 1985 game in Indianapolis, which ended in a win for the West with Ralph Sampson (24 points, 10 rebounds) earning MVP honors in the 140-129 victory. Other all-stars included Bird, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas.
The weekend also featured a slam dunk contest with Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan.
Since then, All-Star weekend has expanded to include a three-point shooting contest, skills challenge, celebrity game and another all-star exhibition featuring rising NBA stars.
The city, of course, has plenty of experience hosting high-profile sporting events, including the Super Bowl and multiple NCAA Tournament games and the Final Four for both men’s and women’s teams. Lucas Oil Stadium has also played host to the Big Ten championship football game. Not to mention the Indianapolis 500, which draws hundreds of thousands of fans each year.
If the 2021 NBA All-Star Game lands in Indy, it will mark another big sports year for the city, which will also host the NCAA men’s Final Four.