Yesterday, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun broke some pretty exciting news for basketball fans in this country. The NBA All-Star Game is finally coming to Canada and Toronto in 2016. Tim Leiweke when he came in to take over MLSE had one of his priorities for the organization was to land this All-Star game for their twenty year in the league anniversary. It has been something that has been a long time coming as many NBA cities in expansion prior to the Raptors and Grizzlies were given an All-Star Game fairly early in their existence.
People might focus on what this means for the Raptors but it is bigger than just the Raptors. The NBA has been having an influx of Canadian talent in recent years and the fact the NBA’s showcase event will be on Canadian soil will be a big deal for all of these Canadian kids.
At the top on that list is likely a player not even in the NBA yet with Andrew Wiggins. Is it safe to just book him in the Slam Dunk Contest for 2016 now? I mean he is already considered the consensus number one overall pick for next season’s NBA Draft. The thought of him in the Air Canada Centre competing for a slam dunk crown is pretty storybook like in nature.
It is nothing to what it could be if he was doing it sporting Raptors colours. It seems less and less likely that will be a reality. What people have also brought up and it is a solid point this is a chance to sell the city of Toronto to NBA players. However it has never been about players not liking the city of Toronto. I am confident that Toronto as a host to the NBA will be a big hit with players. They love the city and it has always been a favourite stop for teams in the NBA for years.
A great place to party and a great place to live are not always the same thing at the end of the day. I love Toronto personally but for me it is the place I visit not the place I live. I think the NBA players have a very similar view of the city. Changing that mentality will be hard to accomplish with a great weekend bash of partying and fun in Toronto in 2016.
The Raptors two years from now could look completely different so to speculate on who might be an all-star for the Raptors in this game would be fairly silly at this point. What will be interesting is how Toronto reacts to Vince Carter on this weekend.
No I am not expecting Vince to be an All-Star in 2016, in fact who knows if he is even still playing at that point? What I can almost guarantee though is the NBA will make him part of the show that weekend as he is the most recognizable Raptor in the history of this franchise. Will Toronto finally forgive this guy? Who knows but it will be interesting to see.
Bottom line is the best in the NBA and the world are coming to Toronto in 2016 and that is something exciting. While the All-Star Weekend itself has lost its lustre in the last decade it still is a huge event. If you’re hoping to get tickets your best plan is to become famous in the next 2 years. The average person doesn’t really get in the building at All-Star Weekend anywhere close to the action. Still the NBA will be in town like it never has been before.