Reinsdorf's Change Of Heart, Mayor's Enthusiasm Brings NBA ASG To Chicago
Chicago last week was chosen to host the '20 NBA All-Star Game at United Center, and Commissioner Adam Silver over the weekend admitted the city "would've landed the game earlier" if not for Bulls Chair Jerry Reinsdorf's opposition, according to K.C. Johnson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. It was Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who "pestered Silver enough to help Chicago win the bid over, in Silver's words, 'a lot of competition.'" Emanuel was "spurred by the economic impact of landing the NFL and NHL drafts." Silver said Emanuel was "very persuasive." Silver: "He called regularly. He was very enthusiastic." The NBA also announced DePaul Univ.'s new Wintrust Arena will "host the Saturday All-Star celebrity game and Rising Stars and All-Star practices." Fan-focused events "will be staged at Navy Pier" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/11). The AP reported renovations in and around the United Center, the addition of Wintrust and Emanuel's desire all "helped bring" All-Star Weekend back to Chicago, but "so did a change of heart by the Bulls." Bulls President & COO Michael Reinsdorf: "I tried to explain it to my dad. I don't think he's been to an (NBA) All-Star Game since 1988. I tried to explain to him the difference now than what it was like when we hosted last. It's just such a great impact to the city" (AP, 11/10). In Chicago, Steve Greenberg noted the elder Reinsdorf has "come around to the idea" of a third All-Star visit to Chicago (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/11).
CHANGE OF OPINION: In Boston, Gary Washburn reported Jerry Reinsdorf for years "wanted nothing to do" with hosting another ASG following the '88 contest because of the "hassle on the host city and the lack of ticket availability" for the team’s season-ticket holders. Silver: "It surprised me a little bit given (Reinsdorf’s) long-standing opposition." But Silver added Reinsdorf "clearly had mellowed a bit over the years." More Silver: "Especially now with Michael in day-to-day operations." In regards to the Bulls season-ticket holders, Silver said, "I don’t think their ultimate view is we’d rather not have it at all if we can’t have our same seats. I think they still appreciate what it means for the community and what it means for the team to bring the All-Star festivities to Chicago" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/12). Jerry Reinsdorf was "not at the announcement" at the United Center on Friday. The NBA will "plan a week’s worth of events that will utilize various local venues" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/11).