Sources: MLSE's Tim Leiweke Lands '16 NBA All-Star Game For Raptors
The Raptors are "on the verge of landing" the '16 NBA All-Star Weekend for Air Canada Centre, according to sources cited by Ryan Wolstat of the TORONTO SUN. An official announcement is expected "within a week that will reveal further details of how one of the sport’s biggest weekends will tie into Toronto’s 20th-anniversary season." MLSE President & CEO Tim Leiweke "made it clear upon taking over the company that landing the prestigious event was one of his early goals." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver was in Toronto earlier this month for MLSE Expo, a get-together of MLSE employees, but Leiweke at the time said that Silver "wasn’t around to go over the all-star bid." MLSE began the bid process "last February and Cleveland was considered the other serious contender for the event, which will be held in New Orleans this season" (TORONTOSUN.com, 9/24). The NATIONAL POST's Eric Koreen notes the report "comes at a time when basketball in the city is booming, even if the Raptors are a long way from contention." The only Toronto native "to ever participate in the All-Star Game" was former NBAer Jamaal Magloire, then of the Hornets, in '04. The only Raptors to ever play in the game are G Vince Carter, C Antonio Davis and F Chris Bosh. Raptors G Terrence Ross "won last year’s slam dunk contest" (NATIONAL POST, 9/25). YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Devine wrote this seems like "pretty rad news for a fan base that's too often over the years been treated as an NBA outpost rather than a thriving international destination" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/24).
BITE OF THE APPLE: In N.Y., Nate Taylor writes the NBA today is expected to announce that the market will host the NBA ASG in ’15. Hosting would be "shared by the Knicks and Nets." The game reportedly “would take place at Madison Square Garden” and many of the ancillary events would be held at Barclays Center (N.Y. TIMES, 9/25). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Chris Herring writes it “makes logical sense for the game to come to New York." MSG's three-phase renovation "should be complete" by '15, and "the glitzy Barclays Center in Brooklyn remains the league’s newest venue” (WSJ.com, 9/24). The '15 event will not mark the first time All-Star Weekend “has been played at split venues.” Dallas' American Airlines Center in ’10 hosted All-Star Saturday events “while the game was played the next night” at AT&T Stadium (ESPN.com, 9/24).