Larry Bird will deliver Indianapolis’ bid for the 2021 NBA All-Star weekend on Monday … and he’ll be doing it in style.
The Indiana Pacers President and the group bidding for Indianapolis to host the All-Star Weekend in 2021 will combine two of Indiana’s biggest sports loves — IndyCar and basketball — in delivering the bid, using a specially themed and retro-fitted Indy Car, according to a news release from the team. The bid will be delivered to the NBA’s New York headquarters at 2 p.m. Monday.
The last time Indianapolis hosted the All-Star Game was in 1985, in what was then the Hoosier Dome. Los Angeles is the only city confirmed to host an All-Star weekend in the near future; it will be the site of next year’s event.
Pacers team president and chief operations officer Rick Fuson had previously told IndyStar that the 2021 game was the likely target of the city’s bid. The Pacers would not comment further on the details of the bid Friday.
The Pacers became serious about pursuing All-Star Weekend in December, with commissioner Adam Silver spending time with team officials Dec. 14 after attending the team’s groundbreaking ceremony for a $50-million practice facility.
Before the Pacers’ game in London in January, Silver said, “I think it’s highly likely that we will return to Indianapolis for an All-Star Game in the near future.”
Silver mentioned the possibility of playing in a larger venue during the London news conference. Lucas Oil Stadium would allow the Pacers to have as many as 80,000 fans at the game, a tactic used by the Dallas Mavericks in 2010 that resulted in 108,713 fans watching the game inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Bankers LIfe Fieldhouse holds 18,165.
All-Star Weekend would mean a big monetary windfall for the city.
“We know that hosting an NBA All-Star Game generates a healthy seven-, eight-figure economic impact,” Chis Gahl, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications of Visit Indy, said previously. “There’s also a marketing win in hosting a major sporting event.”
Indy’s 1985 All-Star weekend consisted largely of a slam-dunk contest Saturday and the game Sunday. Dominique Wilkins beat a young Michael Jordan for the dunk title at Market Square Arena. The West won the game in the Hoosier Dome with Ralph Sampson being named the MVP.
Fuson remembers that more than 43,000 people attended the game.
“We had six inches of snow the day of the All-Star Game and our city came out anyway,” said Fuson, who was director of special events at Market Square Arena in 1985, earlier this year. “There’s a lot of great memories I have. But it was,…