Chicago Officially Named as Host of 2020 NBA All-Star Game

The Chicago Bulls will host the NBA All-Star Game in 2020, the league officially announced at a press conference Friday. 

The announcement featured numerous dignitaries, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf.

"It will be the epicenter of basketball around the world," Silver said in his remarks. "He (Mayor Emanuel) called regularly, and was very enthusiastic about bringing the game here. We look forward to being here." 

2020 will mark the first time that the team has hosted the All-Star Game since 1988, when Michael Jordan won MVP honors in front of a packed house at the Chicago Stadium.

It was announced that both Navy Pier and Wintrust Arena, the new downtown home of DePaul basketball, will host events around the game. 

There was a reluctance to bring the game to Chicago in the past, as team owner Jerry Reinsdorf had said that the league would have to "force me to take the All-Star Game" during a 2012 interview with ESPN.  

Reinsdorf's son Michael, the COO of the Bulls, quoted his father during the press conference, saying that his own son and Mayor Emanuel convinced him to prod the league to select Chicago for the game. 

"What he (Jerry Reinsdorf) didn't realize is that there are other influential people who thought otherwise," he said. "We understand the cultural impact that the All-Star Game will provide for Chicago." 

Reinsdorf credited the expanded campus of shops and activities around the United Center as a selling point for the game, and thanked the city for aiding in the development on the Near West Side. 

It is just the latest in a string of high-profile sporting events to take place in Chicago in recent years. The Stanley Cup Final and World Series have both been contested, but marquee events like the NFL Draft, the NHL Entry Draft, and the Warrior Games have also taken place at various locations in Chicago.

"Bringing the NBA All-Star Game back to the city for the first time in over three decades is a win for our city, our businesses, and fans of all ages who will have the chance to be part of one of basketball's biggest events," Emanuel said in a statement. 

"This was a stadium. Now, it's a campus," he said. "The city of Chicago is in a different place and able to host the All-Star week. The city, not just the stadium, will host this event. We look forward to bringing the world's game to the most American of American cities." 

Los Angeles is set to host the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, and Charlotte, who lost the 2017 game amid controversy over the state of North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill,” will host the 2019 contest. 

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