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NBA All-Star 2016: Location, location, location, and why the game needs to return to Salt Lake

Breaking down the division history of the game, and pointing out some uncomfortable truths.

Get it done, Mitt!
Get it done, Mitt!
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

I seem to harp on having a star player on the team a lot. And I recognize that can get pretty tiresome to some fans. Thank you for bearing with me as I publicly express my fears and feelings for our franchise. I also think the team needs a reliable go-to scorer, but the communism approach seems to be working well at times. One thing I haven't been talking much about has been the upcoming All-Star game in Toronto. I'm excited for this even if we Utah Jazz fans aren't likely to have a lot of representation that weekend. Yes, it's not going to be like that one year where Deron Williams was in the Skills competition, Carlos Boozer was in the All-Star Game, Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap were in the Rookie/Soph game, and Morris Almond and Kyrylo Fesenko were in the NBADL All-Star Game. (N.B. Kyle Korver was asked to be in the three point contest that year, but instead elected to use the weekend to go back to Philly to do laundry and pay bills .) This season the team may have no one representing the franchise at the mid-season celebration for the league. Again. But I'm still excited. Why?

Truly, we all should be excited because at the very least it's another ASG closer to returning the game to Utah. (Freebie Marketing pitch "Bringing the Stars back to Utah.") Having looked at where every game has been played (or in the case of the 1999 game, where it was scheduled to be played had there not been a lockout), and which franchises were the hosts it's clear to me that the next city to be honored to play host SHOULD be a North West division team.

Atlantic Central South East
Arena Location Year Arena Location Year Arena Location Year
1 Boston MA 1951 1 Fort Wayne (DET) IN 1953 1 St. Louis (ATL) MO 1958
2 Boston MA 1952 2 Detroit MI 1959 2 St. Louis (ATL) MO 1962
3 New York City NY 1954 3 Chicago IL 1973 3 St. Louis (ATL) MO 1965
4 New York City NY 1955 4 Milwaukee WI 1977 4 Baltimore (WAS) MD 1969
5 Boston MA 1957 5 Pontiac (DET) MI 1979 5 Atlanta GA 1978
6 Philadelphia PA 1960 6 Richfield (CLE) OH 1981 6 Landover (WAS) MD 1980
7 Syracuse (PHI) NY 1961 7 Indianapolis IN 1985 7 Miami FL 1990
8 Boston MA 1964 8 Chicago IL 1988 8 Charlotte NC 1991
9 New York City NY 1968 9 Cleveland OH 1997 9 Orlando FL 1992
10 Philadelphia PA 1970 10 10 Washington DC 2001
11 Philadelphia PA 1976 11 11 Atlanta GA 2003
12 East Rutherford (BKN) NJ 1982 12 12 Orlando FL 2012
13 New York City NY 1998 13 13 Charlotte NC 2017
14 Philadelphia * PA 1999 14 14
15 Philadelphia PA 2002 15 15
16 New York City NY 2015 16 16
17 Toronto ON 2016 17 17
18 18 18
19 19 19
20 20 20

.

South West North West Pacific
Arena Location Year Arena Location Year Arena Location Year
1 Dallas TX 1986 1 Seattle (OKC) WA 1974 1 Rochester (SAC) NY 1956
2 Houston TX 1989 2 Denver CO 1984 2 Los Angeles CA 1963
3 San Antonio TX 1996 3 Seattle (OKC) WA 1987 3 Cincinnati (SAC) OH 1966
4 Houston TX 2006 4 Salt Lake City UT 1993 4 Daly City (GSW) CA 1967
5 New Orleans LA 2008 5 Minneapolis MN 1994 5 San Diego (LAC) CA 1971
6 Arlington (DAL) TX 2010 6 Denver CO 2005 6 Inglewood (LAL) CA 1972
7 Houston TX 2013 7 7 Phoenix AZ 1975
8 New Orleans LA 2014 8 8 Inglewood (LAL) CA 1983
9 9 9 Phoenix AZ 1995
10 10 10 Oakland CA 2000
11 11 11 Los Angeles CA 2004
12 12 12 Las Vegas (No Team) NV 2007
13 13 13 Phoenix AZ 2009
14 14 14 Los Angeles CA 2011
15 15 15
16 16 16
17 17 17
18 18 18
19 19 19
20 20 20

While a Central division team hasn't been host in a while (1997) and it would be "nice" for LeBron James to play host in 2018, I don't know if the NBA is going to go East four whopping years in a row: New York (2015), Toronto (2016), Charlotte (2017), then Cleveland (2018). The North West division has hosted the game the fewest number of times; though I think the NBA people may feel like the Las Vegas game (they have no team) counts as a "North West game". Worse still, they may elect to either give it to OKC, who has two stars (and a crappy town), or Minny, who have very young guys and by 2018 it's clear that Andrew Wiggins will be an All-Star. Also, the Twin Cities actually add up to a larger market team (and the largest market in the division) than most of the NBA outside of the Atlantic Division.

Yet I do dream of a Utah All-Star game. Heck, if Utah can host the Olympics, how the heck does Phoenix get two All-Star games since the 90s and New Orleans two in recent memory (2008, 2014)? Okay, we know the New Orleans thing -- Chris Paul is one and post-Katrina local economy surge is the other. There was no Phoenix Arizona Olympics. Get this done, NBA.

Of course, the North West division makes the least amount of money for the NBA, and as a result may not be rewarded with an All-Star game anytime soon. You could argue that Golden State will get one first because they are making a new arena, and the NBA wants to positively reinforce that type of behaviour.

One can make a case for each division. The Atlantic teams have the largest population bases and make the most potential money during the weekend. The Central teams are good, and haven't held a game since the 90s. The South East teams have nicer weather than the Atlantic and Central teams. The South West has great weather too, and lots of infrastructure in Texas. (No one mention Memphis.) The Pacific is flashy, a great destination, have great weather, and make a lot of money for the NBA, unless it's Phoenix. The Northwest, well, they are just plain due.

As for Utah over Minny or OKC, well, it's more Western in location -- which better reflects the conference. Second, it's a much easier city to deal with in terms of hotels, infrastructure, public transportation downtown, and so forth. Not a lot of 'bangin' discotheques' but we all can't be Las Vegas. There's no guarantee that Kevin Durant will be a Thunder player by then. And while Minny is a bigger market with a budding star player, Utah is a more establish basketball market and a more solid franchise. The Jazz will be a playoff team in 2018. Minny? Not so much. IF the NBA does give the game to a North West division team in the next five years and they give it to Portland I will fly over there and spill some hipster's microbrew beer. If it goes to Denver I will . . . actually . . . I can see that happening too. Crap.

But what do you think?