The NBA All-Star weekend was held elsewhere than in Portland for the 71st time. What does the City of Roses need to do to host the game?
The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland came and went without the Portland Trail Blazers. Team LeBron defeated Team Durant on Sunday in a high-scoring no-defense game.
Minnesota’s Karl Anthony Towns shot down his opponents in the three-point competition on Saturday and New York’s Obi Toppin – Portland Trail Blazers runner-up Anfernee Simons in the 2021 Slam Dunk Contest – was crowned the 2022 winner.
The weekend of events can be a lot of fun with lots of talented superstars, up and coming stars, or even just a popularity contest depending on how you look at it. However, there is one thing that has been missing since the All-Star game debuted in 1951: Portland Oregon. Yes that’s right, good old Portland, Oregon USA!
Portland and the Blazers have been represented at the event(s) many times over the years, including Moda Center Public Address Announcer Mark Mason, who was this year’s master of ceremonies in Cleveland. But the Rose City never hosted the NBA’s midseason spectacle.
This goes beyond Portland residents and the Trail Blazers themselves. It’s about Gresham and Beaverton. It’s about Vancouver and Longview Washington and the rest of the Portland market. You can even get the teamless Seattle fans involved in this. It’s time for Portland, Oregon to step into the limelight and show the NBA and the rest of the basketball world what Rip City is all about.
It’s time for Portland to get the chance to host an NBA All-Star Weekend. Opened in 1995, the Moda Center is the home of the Blazers and seats 19,441. The previous home of the Blazers, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum still exists next door and could also play host to some of the weekend events.
Portland has everything the NBA could want in an All-Star Weekend host
There is plenty to see and do in the area. Mount Hood can be reached within an hour if you like snow and winter activities. Do you like the beach? Seaside, Cannon Beach and other beaches are about an hour and a half west of Portland.
Maybe you like history? Founded in 1811, Astoria is the oldest settlement west of the Rockies and has numerous museums, movie set locations and is a two-hour drive away. You can even take the bus there.
Food? Portland was ranked as the best food city in the United States by the Washington Post and routinely appears in top 5 lists.
What’s the problem? And why didn’t Portland win this weekend full of basketball? That’s the multi-million dollar question.
Former Commissioner David Stern once said this was because of the lack of shelter. Portland has a few hotels near the Rose Quarter, including the new Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center.
MAX light rail can bring fans downtown to the many hotels. Beaverton, Gresham, Happy Valley and Milwaukie, all of which have adequate self-catering accommodation, are a short MAX drive away. Vancouver is a short drive over the Interstate Bridge with even more lodging, as well as the hotels across the river from the arena in downtown PDX.
If necessary, a cruise ship with rooms and other necessities on board can even be anchored on the Willamette River for even more places for people to stay, or used as competition headquarters. Not to mention the Conference Center itself and the even larger Exposition Center a few miles to the north. So where to place people shouldn’t be a problem.
Perhaps it’s time for current Commissioner Adam Silver to visit the Portland metro area and see what it has to offer. Cities like Cleveland, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Orlando have hosted this multiple times.
Even Las Vegas – which has never had an NBA team – has hosted it. In the 50 years that Portland has had an NBA franchise, it has not once hosted an NBA All-Star Weekend. It’s time the NBA realized this and credited Rip City.