NBA shifts Indianapolis’ All-Star weekend to 2024

The National Basketball Association has become the latest US major league to call off its annual all-star event in its traditional guise, with the NBA All-Star scheduled for Indianapolis next year now put back to 2024.

The Indiana Pacers were due to hold the 2021 NBA All-Star on February 12-14 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. However, public health conditions amid COVID-19 have prevented the Pacers, the NBA All-Star Host Committee and the league from appropriately planning and executing fan-focused activities in Indianapolis.

The Pacers will now host the 2024 All-Star Game from February 16-18 of that year. The NBA said plans for a revised NBA All-Star 2021 will be announced at a later date.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring Indiana the very best All-Star experience in 2024,” said Pacers owner Herb Simon. “The efforts of so many Hoosiers to prepare for NBA All-Star 2021 put us ahead of the game for the hard work to come, and we are so grateful to the NBA for once again recognising Indianapolis as a city that delivers world-class events.”

NBA All-Star 2024 in Indianapolis will follow Cleveland in 2022 and Salt Lake City in 2023 as host destinations. The 2024 game will mark the second NBA All-Star in Indianapolis, which hosted the midseason classic in 1985.

Yesterday’s decision from the NBA comes following similar announcements from the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Football League (NFL) last month. The NHL announced the postponement of its 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Weekend events, stating fan participation was crucial to their successful staging.

The Winter Classic, featuring the Minnesota Wild facing the St. Louis Blues at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of Major League Baseball (MLB) team Minnesota Twins, was originally scheduled for January 1. The NHL’s annual outdoors game was this year held on New Year’s Day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, with a sold-out crowd of 85,630 making it the League’s second-most attended game in history.

The Florida Panthers were to host the 2021 All-Star Weekend at BB&T Center from January 29-30, after the Blues’ Enterprise Center staged this year’s event. Both of 2021’s events have now been posted due to the ongoing uncertainty resulting from COVID-19, but the NHL said it intends to return to both Minnesota and Florida for the events in the near future.

The NFL announced that the 2021 Pro Bowl will be replaced by a range of “engaging activities” as the league focuses on completing its full regular season campaign amid the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, had been due to host the game in 2021 but will now do so in 2022. Instead of the game, a virtual recognition of the NFL’s best players will be held.

Image: Indiana Pacers