With visions of Horseshoe Casino chips dancing in his head, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert will reportedly ask the NBA to bring the All-Star Game to Cleveland in a couple of years.
According to a report in The Beacon Journal, Gilbert will submit a proposal to have the game at Quicken Loans Arena in either 2016 or 2017.
Adam Silver, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, was in town recently looking to see if Cleveland would be a realistic host and he gave Gilbert the thumb’s up to submit a bid.
“The league is very receptive and open to it,” Gilbert told the paper. “As soon as this (weekend) is over, we’ll start talking more seriously about it. The city would be unreal. It would be a great weekend.”
Especially for the bottom line of the casino, no doubt, which would be filled with plenty of high rollers from out of town. And if those out-of-towners don’t get to see anything else about Cleveland in the middle of winter? Well, that’s the way it goes.
Seriously, though, this would obviously be a good thing for Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. So much has changed in the region since the Cavs last played host to the game in 1997 and it would be nice to share that with a national audience.
Plus, if the game is in Cleveland, Kyrie Irving could get some rest while preparing to start for the Eastern Conference along with his teammate LeBron James.
It would also give Cleveland fans a break from complaining about the final year of Nick Swisher’s Travis Hafner-like contract, or distract them from the possibility of yet another Cleveland Browns coaching change.
So, really, it’s a win-win situation.
The Cavs have hosted two All-Star games in franchise history.
Glen Rice was the MVP of the 1997 game in front of what NBA.com described as “20,592 excited and appreciative fans at Cleveland’s Gund Arena.” Terrell Brandon represented the Cavs, scoring 10 points and handing out eight assists in 17 minutes.
The big event of the weekend was the recognition of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players.
The Cavs also hosted the game in 1981 at the Richfield Coliseum. Boston’s Nate Archibald was the MVP and the Cavs were represented by Mike Mitchell, who scored 14 points in 15 minutes of play.
That game was memorable because the NBA, fearful of what Cavs owner Ted Stepien had planned for the event, had to step in and take over the event.
According to the 1994 book, Cavs: From Fitch to Fratello, then NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien became concerned about Stepien’s ability to be a proper host after attending a luncheon in Cleveland to announce that the All-Star Game was coming to town. The next time the Cavs were in New York, O’Brien asked broadcaster Joe Tait to visit him to find out what was really going on in Cleveland.
During the meeting, O’Brien told Tait about how the luncheon featured “scantily-clad girls” and a “very big, fat, unshaven man ... (who) takes a beer can and rips the top off in his teeth, spits it out, pops and egg into the mouth, and then takes a powdered donut and eats it – shoves it in round-wise!”
“What the hell is going on there?”
After Tait explained everything that was going on with Stepien, the NBA made a quick and wise decision to take over control of the game.
Luckily, if the NBA comes back to Cleveland in a few years for the All-Star Game, things should go a lot smoother.
(Photo by The Associated Press)
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