Toronto Raptors Named Host of 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2013

The NBA All-Star weekend is moving up north in a few years. 


UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 30, at 11:10 a.m. ET

The NBA has confirmed the 2016 All-Star Weekend will be held in Toronto:

Prior to the announcement, the Raptors posted a candid photo of musician Drake with Masai Ujiri:

---End of update---


---Original Text---

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun was first to report the league had chosen the Toronto Raptors as the host of the event in 2016:

Multiple sources told the Toronto Sun Tuesday that the Raptors are on the verge of landing the 2016 NBA all-star weekend.

An official announcement is expected shortly that will reveal further details of how one of the sport's biggest weekends will tie in to the Toronto Raptors' 20th-anniversary season.

Bomani Jones pointed out what perhaps could be the biggest problem with Toronto hosting the All-Star Game, which will take place in February.

Cold weather aside, Toronto landing the All-Star Game is likely the work of Tim Leiweke, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns both the Raptors and the Air Canada Centre. Wolstat reported he was pushing hard to bring the All-Star Game to Canada, and by all indications it appears he was successful.

Per Wolstat, Leiweke said in May, "Clearly the 2016 All-Star Game is a flag in the sand that we planted with the NBA. It is a must have in my opinion and it will be the centre piece of how we rebrand this."

The All-Star Game is a nice way to celebrate the Raptors' anniversary. The franchise hasn't been wildly successful throughout its history, but it's provided more than its fair share of memorable moments, courtesy of star players such as Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire.

NBA All-Star Weekend is always one of the highlights of the season. No matter how much people bemoan the decline of the Slam Dunk Contest, there's more than enough excitement to keep basketball fans entertained. It's pretty much a three-day party for any NBA fan.

In addition, Toronto is a great sports city and would be a wonderful host.

It will be the first time since 2000 that Toronto hosted a major all-star game. In 2000, the NHL held its All-Star Game in the Air Canada Centre, while the then-SkyDome hosted the MLB All-Star Game in 1991.