News broke earlier this week that the 2023 NBA All-Star Game will be played in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the Utah Jazz.
Over the next four years, the All-Star Game will be played in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Salt Lake City. Nowhere to be seen in the past, present, or future: Portland, Oregon.
Dwight Jaynes pointed out some of the various reasons the NBA All-Star Game hasn't stopped in Portland, but I'm here to tell you it's all a sham. Portland can and should host the All-Star game. Here are a few reasons why.
- The first reason people latch onto is Portland's lack of hotel rooms. Ok? That's a joke. The MLS All-Star Game stopped in Portland in 2014, and the 20,000 fans (mostly from out of town) that filled Providence Park had no problem finding a place to stay. Also, look to the future of hotels in Portland. The Ritz Carlton is currently under construction in the Pearl District and will add 251 rooms to Portland's hotel scene by 2023. The rooms are there, don't believe the lies.
- Traffic is a huge problem in Portland, but no need to worry. We’ve already seen that e-scooters are a thing in PDX, and don’t forget about Tri-Met, still one of the best and easiest ways to get to and from Moda Center. Maybe even with all the tourists making a stop in Portland we could convince Tri-Met to bring back Fareless Square.
- Trust the power of Voodoo - Sure, locals stopped going to VooDoo Donuts in like 2005, but that hasn't stopped the shop from becoming a powerhouse in the sugary delight industry. Just imagine the thousands of social media influencers flocking to VooDoo for that special Instagram photo. Sure, all the selfies will be overwhelming, but the pink boxes in the pictures represent a giant economic boom.
- Speaking of tourist staples - Salt and Straw. Sure, Los Angeles and San Francisco have locations, but neither of those cities needs the All-Star Game. LA has already hosted it about 100 times, and Golden State has been its own All-Star game for the last half-decade. Plus those are expansion Salt and Straws. There is only one original, and that's in the Rose City.
- In-N-Out is moving closer and closer to Portland, with one set to open in Keizer in just a few months. By 2024, there could be one within Portland city limits. I only bring this up because it would help the celebrities in attendance feel at home. A little piece of California to make their hearts warm. Come take a weekend vacation to Portland and feel the level of comfort only a Double-Double with animal style fries can bring.
Now, all joking aside, it is ludicrous that Portland hasn’t hosted an All-Star game. In fact, Portland, along with Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Sacramento, are the only NBA cities that have yet to host one. Oklahoma City has only had a team since 2008, Memphis got the Grizzlies in 2001, and the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985. The Blazers? They joined the league in 1970! That’s 50 years of history and 50 years without an All-Star game. The Seattle Supersonics joined the league in 1967 and hosted the All-Star game in 1974, and again in 1987. Hosted twice and moved towns before Portland got to host once.
Of the four cities hosting over the next four seasons, all have hosted at least once, with Chicago having hosted two already. Cities, even cities as big as Chicago, shouldn’t be getting their third game before Portland gets its first… Heck, the NBA hosted the All-Star game in Las Vegas in 2007 and that city doesn’t even have an NBA team.
We can joke, we can state facts, but the point remains unchanged – Portland deserves to host the NBA All-Star Game… Or at least send it to Honolulu. Who wants a weekend in Indiana when you can have a weekend in paradise?