CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Hornets owner Michael Jordan, a 14-time NBA All-Star, is pushing to bring the big game back to Charlotte.
The Hornets, in conjunction with the Charlotte Sports Foundation, announced plans Tuesday to submit a bid to host the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2017 or 2018.
A contingent of Hornets employees and city officials flew to New York Tuesday to deliver the bid to NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and other league executives following a morning press conference in Charlotte.
“This is a great time to be a Charlotte Hornets fan and a fan of NBA basketball here in the Carolinas,” Hornets COO Fred Whitfield said Tuesday. “... This is a chance for us to host the greatest basketball players in the world on not a national, but a global stage.”
Whitfield estimates eight to 10 other cities will apply to host the game.
Charlotte hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 1991 at the suburban Charlotte Coliseum, which has since been demolished.
The Hornets now play in a downtown arena.
Whitfield estimated Tuesday the arena, which opened in 2005, would need between $42 million and $43 million in upgrades.
“The City Council at some point will receive the presentation on the results of the discussions that we have had,” Whitfield said. “It has yet to be determined and it will be soon. Again, we want to make sure that our arena is very competitive with and against the rest of the region with high quality and high fan experience.”
Whitfield said those improvements to the arena will most likely be funded with hospitality tax revenues.
The team has openly discussed in the past its desire to have the game return to Charlotte for quite some time.
In April of 2013, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the possibility of Charlotte hosting a future All-Star game, saying “I can’t speak as to the year, but I’m very excited about the prospect of the All-Star game returning to Charlotte. It’s a terrific arena and one of our best basketball markets in terms of passion.”
Silver said this past March that no dramatic changes were needed to the arena.
He said the scoreboard, suites and lighting were some of the things that needed to be upgraded to host the All-Star Weekend, which regularly features the game’s biggest stars and a host of celebrities.
He estimates landing the All-Star game will have $100 million economic impact on Charlotte area based off the numbers from last year’s game in New Orleans.
Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats went 43-39 last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but were swept in the first round by the Miami Heat. Charlotte changed its name to the Hornets earlier this year.