Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives into Yogi Ferrell #3 of the Sacramento Kings in a preseason game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 14, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Alex Goodlett | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA – The NBA All-Star Game is returning to Salt Lake City, Utah in 2023, the league announced on Wednesday.
Jazz owner Gail Miller joined NBA commissioner Adam Silver at a press conference on Wednesday to discuss selecting the city to host the 72nd annual game to be played at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Silver called Salt Lake City “a world-class destination for large-scale events and sports competitions.”
“I want to thank the Miller Family and the Utah Jazz organization for their commitment to hosting our All-Star festivities and to developing a program that will leave a lasting impact on the community,” he said.
The last time Utah hosted the game at the Delta Center, Jazz legends and Basketball Hall of Famers, Karl Malone (28 points and 10 rebounds) and John Stockton (nine points and 15 assists) shared MVP honors as they led the Western Conference to a 135-132 win over the East.
Miller said that memory of that game remains “strong” but added, “We are excited to create new memories for this generation of NBA fans in a place that loves to celebrate basketball.”
“The return of the NBA All-Star Game to Salt Lake City is a tremendous honor and an opportunity for us to welcome back the NBA family for one of basketball’s biggest events,” Miller said of the game, which will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Feb. 21, 1993 All-Star Game played in the city.
According to Larry H. Miller Group of Companies CEO Steve Starks, Vivint Smart Home Arena recently completed a renovation totaling $125 million, which “focused on enhancing the guest experience.
“With the close proximity of the Salt Palace Convention Center and Huntsman Center as facilities, NBA fans will enjoy a dynamic downtown atmosphere,” Starks said.
The 2020 All-Star Game will be held in Chicago at the United Center in February, followed by Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana in 2021. And for the first time since 1997, the All-Star Game will return to Cleveland in 2022.
A venue for 2026?
Another arena that is on the verge of completing an in-depth renovation is the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the home of the 76ers who opened the 2019-20 regular season with a 107-93 win over the Boston Celtics.
In September, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported Comcast Spectacor, which owns the building, completed phase four of the almost $300 million makeover, which included a 4K Kinetic scoreboard.
Amid those renovations, rumblings around the NBA suggest the Sixers and city officials could make a bid for the 2026 All-Star Game, but a decision to present a proposal to the NBA has not been made.
If a bid is submitted, Philadelphia could potentially host two major league all-star games in one year. The city is already set to host the MLB All-Star Game at Citzens Bank Park that year.
The last time the Philadelphia hosted the NBA All-Star Game was on Feb. 10, 2002. Sixers forward Tobias Harris, then age 9, attended the contest and said he remembers everything about the experience.
“It was a dream come true,” Harris said after finishing with a double-double (15 points and 15 rebounds) in the victory.
Asked about the possibility of the game returning to Philadelphia in a few years, Harris said: “That would be fire. We would love to have it. I think the city deserves it, for sure. And I think it’s cool that Utah got it, too.
“All-Star Games are big, especially for a city’s economy,” Harris added, “and for cities in general, and the excitement of the game. I think it would be awesome.”
Festivities for the 2023 All-Star Weekend will commence on Feb. 17, with the game occurring on Sunday, Feb. 19. The NBA also announced the game would be televised on TNT, marking the 21st consecutive year the network will air the event.
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.