The NBA announced today that Indianapolis has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2021. The 70th NBA All-Star Game will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. This will mark the second NBA All-Star in Indianapolis, which hosted the midseason classic in 1985.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement during a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He was joined by Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett as well as Pacers Sports & Entertainment owner Herb Simon, President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Fuson and President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard.
“Indianapolis has an enduring love for basketball that creates a special connection to our All-Star Game,” said Silver. “I want to especially thank Herb Simon for his efforts to bring the All-Star festivities back to Indianapolis as well as acknowledge the strong support we received from Governor Holcomb, Mayor Hogsett, Larry Bird, Rick Fuson and the entire Pacers organization.”
Indianapolis will follow Los Angeles in 2018, Charlotte in 2019 and Chicago in 2020 as All-Star host. The NBA All-Star Game will be played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time.
“On behalf of all of us at Pacers Sports & Entertainment, I am delighted that the NBA is entrusting us with NBA All-Star 2021 and we look forward to putting on a week of events that highlights the city that I love and meets the league’s expectations,” said Simon.
“We are thrilled with the NBA’s decision to bring its showcase event, the NBA All-Star Game, to Indianapolis in 2021,” said Holcomb. “No state nurtures and loves the game of basketball more than Indiana, and I am certain that my fellow Hoosiers will embrace the game and related events with uncommon passion and support.”
“We’re so excited to welcome the world back to our city and Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game,” said Hogsett. “Indianapolis’ legacy is one that has truly been enriched by our chase of the next big game, and that story continues thanks to what we hope will be the best NBA All-Star Game and weekend yet.
“This is another great day in our city’s sports history as well as a fitting tribute to the longest-tenured owner in the NBA, Herb Simon,” said Fuson. “Just as we have done with so many major events in the past, we pledge to give our best efforts in making NBA All-Star 2021 exceptionally welcoming, convenient, creative and memorable.”
In partnership with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Indiana Sports Corp. and Visit Indy have worked in tandem to bring NBA All-Star 2021 to Indianapolis.
Fuson, who was the Pacers’ operational lead for the 1985 NBA All-Star Game in the Hoosier Dome, will serve as Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee. The LOC President will be Mel Raines, who is PS&E’s Senior Vice President for Facilities Operations. Raines played a leading role as Vice President of Government Relations and Operations for Indianapolis’ highly acclaimed 2012 Super Bowl.
Volunteer co-chairs of the LOC will be Rafael Sanchez, President and CEO of Indianapolis Power & Light Company; Aasif Bade, President of Ambrose Property Group; civic leader and philanthropist Cindy Simon Skjodt; and Tamika Catchings, retired star of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever who now serves as Director of Player Programs and Franchise Development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Catchings also directs her Catch the Stars Foundation.
NBA All-Star 2021 on-court events at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will include top rookies and second-year players in the Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 12, followed the next day by the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the JBL Three-Point Contest and the Verizon Slam Dunk during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. On Sunday, TNT will be televising the All-Star Game in prime time for the 19th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 36th year of All-Star coverage.
Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center will be among the other venues throughout Indianapolis that will host events, including the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA All-Star and Rising Stars practices. Several events will feature interactive programming that brings fans of all ages closer to NBA and WNBA players and legends.
During NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA will continue to celebrate its tradition and commitment to social responsibility with a full schedule of NBA Cares events. Through partnerships with schools, government and local nonprofit organizations in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, the league will reach thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.
NBA ALL-STAR HISTORY IN INDIANAPOLIS
Indianapolis previously hosted NBA All-Star in 1985, when the Western Conference defeated the Eastern Conference 140-129 in the 35th All-Star Game. The crowd of 43,146 at the Hoosier Dome was the largest to attend an NBA game at the time.
All-Star Game MVP Ralph Sampson of the Houston Rockets finished with a game-high 24 points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the West, while Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson added 21 points and 15 assists. Detroit Pistons guard Isiah Thomas (22 points) and Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird (21 points) led the East. Rookies Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls and Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets made their All-Star debuts.
NBA All-Star 1985 also featured a memorable Slam Dunk Contest, won by Atlanta Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins after a final-round duel with Jordan.
Established in 1967, the Pacers spent their first nine seasons in the American Basketball Association (ABA). During that time, Indianapolis hosted two ABA All-Star Games, at Hinkle Fieldhouse (1968) and the Fairgrounds Coliseum (1970). The Pacers won three ABA championships before joining the NBA in 1976.
In 1953, the NBA’s third All-Star Game was played at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., the current home of the Pacers’ NBA G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.