Well, this is awesome news.

According to a report from Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun, the Toronto Raptors will host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.

When Tim Leiweke took over at the helm of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, one of his key talking points was making Toronto a destination for marquee events, specifically highlight the NBA All-Star weekend festivities as a goal. Well, mission accomplished, and here’s hoping it’s a positive indicator of Leiweke’s ability to follow through on his objectives.

From a business standpoint, this is a no-brainer. All-Star weekend brings plenty of players and celebrities with it, and the city of Toronto should see an appreciable economic boost that weekend (as should The Brass Rail). It’s always a positive when a team or franchise gets marquee event and could help towards increasing the team’s public profile as well, though it’s hardly a certainty.

From a basketball standpoint, there’s no impact on the floor. The Raptors are likely to be assured a player in at least one competition during the weekend but it’s far too early to tell who could be in what event. (Note that by 2016, Jonas Valanciunas will have his own All-Star Game and won’t bother participating with these peons.)

An additional consideration from a basketball perspective is that this is an opportunity to introduce a lot of basketball talent and personnel to the city of Toronto. We often hear criticism that Toronto can’t attract free agents or isn’t a great place to play, even though current and former players speak to the contrary (hello, Charles Barkley). Customs and border concerns aside, this is a great chance for the franchise to show potential players, coaches and management figures that Toronto is well worth the hassle at the airport.

As fans, there is no emotion to feel but elation, really. This is a no-lose for fans. Seriously, if you find a way to complain about this I’ll punch you in the teeth. A rookie-sophomore game (or whatever they call it now), a celebrity game, All-Star Saturday Night and the All-Star Game itself are all chances that not all fanbases get to see the NBA’s best up close and in one place at one time. Quibble in 2016 about the potentially exorbitant prices, but the chance to pay exorbitant prices seemed unlikely just a few years ago.

The marketing campaign locally will probably focus on the franchise’s 20th anniversary. Say what you will about the history of the franchise, but it’s definitely a good way to tie the team closely to the event rather than just ‘having it here.’ I, for one, would love for the organization to shoehorn some kind of Raptors Alumni game into the weekend; anyone who was once a Raptor is probably still in decent enough shape to get up and down the floor. (I’d also push for a “Toronto Celebrities and Bloggers Game” but I doubt there will be much traction there.)

Again, there isn’t a lot to analyze here. It’s an excellent get for the new management team and a potential boon to the local economy and the business side of the company. It also can’t hurt on the basketball side of things, and is a major victory for the fanbase.

Let’s hear some early thoughts on the announcement – Excitement level? How much would you pay for each event? What locally-themed event would you like to see added? Local celebs for the celebrity game? Half-time performer (spoiler: it will be Drake) preference?

  • SR

    Cue the “it’s nothing but a circus on the court and a corporate schmooze-fest off the court” naysayers, but it’s great for the city and the franchise! +1

  • arsenalist


  • thegloveinrapsuniform

    Holy shit!!! i was just about to post this.

    Lets do this!!!!!
    So that means at least one raptor will be in the All-star game? or else that would be just embarassing.

    I say Gay and Demar are in.

    • Sheptor

      Hopefully for other teams..its two and a half full seasons away so Jonas is the obvious choice if we had to project.

  • DDayLewis

    White Vegas!!!!!

  • http://ryanrobinson.ca/ Ryan Robinson

    Will have to see the prices of course, but I’d love to go even if it is hanging out in the cheap seats. Who cares if it isn’t meant to be competitive as long as it’s fun?

  • rap nation


  • mike, prague

    We lived to see the day …

  • mike, prague

    I’d like to see DD take on T Ross in the slam dunk competition … #pipe_dream

  • johng_3

    We are not worthy, Mr. Lewieke

  • guy

    i wonder when the tickets go on sale and how much

    • JZ

      As I understand it, the all-star game is basically a NBA sponsor event. The majority of the tickets are the NBAs to dole out, with a small percentage made available to season ticket holders through a lottery.

      • guy

        so i got to buy through nba.com

  • albertan_10

    Guess Doug Smith is wrong again

    • Minks77

      all he’s done is gripe about it, not a mention on the star.com about a MAJOR sporting event coming to Canada. Only mention from Mr. Grumps is in the comments section on his blog (where instead of mentioning anything ASG related he talks about his kid and Duck Dynasty. WTF?) where he says this was all in the pipe more than a year ago and props is owed to BC.

      At least he set a date for his retirement: Jan, 2016. With any luck it was just a joke and he hangs em up much sooner.

      • Guest

        1. The blog is posted early in the morning so it’s understandable that it would be mentioned only in the comments section, as the news broke during the afternoon.

        2. While I’m sure you can hold it against Doug for not being the first to break the story, considering Wolstat was the original source, it’s also understandable that there would be no article up on thestar.com. Reasonable expectation would be for the article to be researched and written after Wolstat’s release, then submitted for inclusion in both the print and online edition. If it’s still not up by tomorrow, then start griping.

        3. He is indeed correct that this has been in the pipeline since before Leiweke. In fact, he wrote about the bid submission back in February: http://www.thestar.com/sports/basketball/2013/02/17/raptors_bidding_to_host_2016_nba_allstar_game_sources_say.html

        • Minks77

          y’know being that it’s the internet and especially that it’s a blog it can be updated at ANY TIME right? Reasonable expectation is that DS, who admits to knowing this has been in the pipeline for nearly a year, didn’t think it worthy to report (his job) on. For your third point I got one that will trump it all. I was balling at Don Mount court 5 years ago when the raps marketing team, jr dance pack and half the real pack showed up to do a spot specifically to pitch for an ASG. MLSE has had this on their horizon a loooooong time. Smitty just doesn’t want to bother to do his job and guess what? Fuck his vacation, this is a major announcement and his old ass is treating it like a wart: something to ugly to annoyingly deal with in good time but nothing urgent. That tactic may have worked well in the pre internet age but in the immortal words of Jesse Pinkman: “Wake up, bitch” it’s 2013 when news orgs, including the Star, rush crap to ePress all the time.

  • Statement

    This is…..how you say…..good.

  • Jonathan Mac Lean

    WHHOOOO!! man, this news was totally worth Toronto’s uneventful offseason! And the best part is, we can still be excited about it for 3 more years!!
    We have to have an All-Star by then… It’s a must… JV most probably. Wouldn’t count on DD or Gay just yet.. don’t think for a second Ujiri will let this affect his decision making, he still has the option of blowing the current roster up and sending those guys off somewhere else. But I hope not

  • murr

    what a beautiful jersey, man bring those back!!

    • Sig

      Is it just me or does it look a lot brighter and vivid then how I remember it?

      Btw, it looks awesome

  • Jonathan Mac Lean

    I feel like having a little fun :) Feel free to join in…

    List of All-Stars in 2016!

    13 players from each conf. while having no more than 5 of a certain postion (Guards, Forwards, Centers) and taking into account this is 3 years from now (Kobe will NOT be participating) – AND although some players might change teams, just use the ones they’re currently with.


    Guards – Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall
    Forwards – LeBron James, Paul George, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Andrew Wiggins (assuming 76ers)
    Centers – Jonas Valanciunas, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, Roy Hibbert

    Guards – Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Ricky Rubio
    Forwards – Kenneth Faried, Kevin Durant, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin
    Centers – DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, JaVale McGee (Shaqtin a fool no more!!)

    (I don’t think CP3 and Carmelo will make it that year – Injury?)

    • Brian

      UMMMMMM…… D Wade ummm…. CP3 will be there and I gotta take Bennett to be there to add the CDN flavour to the event. Either way I’m glad an event of this magnitude will be here. and the Leafs are a shoe in to get it in ’17 as it is the 100th aniniversary

      • Jonathan Mac Lean

        I didn’t put D Wade in because he will be 34 years old and not what he is today… but the All-Star game does have a habit of bringing in old faces

  • Shadow Of Christ


  • Guest

    I realize that Wolstat was the first offender, but come on. While the title and opening line of his release do boastfully declare that the 2016 ASG will be hosted in Toronto, the second line clarifies, “Multiple sources told the Toronto Sun Tuesday that the Raptors are *on the verge* of landing the 2016 NBA all-star weekend.”

    Then RR goes and uses the same not entirely accurate headline, followed by the confident assertion that “Toronto Raptors *will* host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game.”

    While this may become moot if/when the decision is finalized, perhaps we should wait for the Raptors to actually land the all-star weekend before declaring it a done deal.

    • Nilanka15

      Feels like we’re pushing our luck here….

  • 2damkule

    does this mean we’re going to pretend that the actual game/events are worth watching now?

  • Nilanka15

    Pretty exciting news. Not sure how much I’d be willing to pay for tickets, but I’ll remind myself that it took 20 years to land this event in Toronto. What’s an extra couple hundred bucks in 2016 if we don’t get another shot until 2036?

  • imaginelino

    I would hope J.E Skeets and Tas Malas have a couple spots in the celebrity game. Local bloggers who made a name for themselves over the years.

  • De Mar

    yeah its nice but isn’t it cold around that time the all star game happens in the nba? I mean in February, its freezing!! I guess we can’t have alll of those little events other all star game had. Like playing HORSE outside…and more, not to sure but I seen footages of a lot of the events taking place outside…before the actual game.

    • 2damkule

      so…no cold weather city is an appropriate host of the NBA ASG? you do know that it’s ‘freezing’ in an awful lot of NBA markets in feb., right?

      • De Mar

        I didn’t say that! I was wondering how it will work with the cold ass weather. The past 3 ASG were in beautiful warm weather cities, how is Toronto going to top that….other than that I’m happy, I’ll be going I’m not hating on Toronto, I live HERE! Are they going to have indoor tents or something iono. Other cities maybe colder but I say Toronto has the worst wind I ever experienced and I’m originally from Ottawa where its colder than Toronto on any given day.

    • Jonathan Mac Lean

      I’d say NY and Chicago have worse winters than Toronto.. and the 2015 All-Star games are in NY so we’ll just see what they do in terms of weather accomodation

      • De Mar

        Well Maple leaf square is getting pretty dense, maybe use the rogers centre as well? hmmm maybe with all the people that will be coming in, the huge amount of body heat will keep everyone and everything warm.

        • TheDowJones

          How old are you? You gotta be a young buck or you would know that the NBA been hosting ASW in cold cities for years now. Are you like 12?

          • Jonathan Mac Lean

            Dont know about De Mar but I didnt know that since I’m fairly new to following the NBA. Dont see how it should stop us from wondering and speculating at our leasure. Cant we just talk to get our excitement from the news out?
            P.S. was shootin hoops outside 2 weeks ago by myself when a kid (who happened to be 12) asks to play against me. I go easy on him at first but soon find I need to step up my game; kid was actually really good. He was hitting 15 footers with my hand in his face. Dont doubt 12 year olds

            • De Mar

              I enjoy following the NBA especially the Raptors, I’m an underdog kind of guy

              • Jonathan Mac Lean

                same, nothing more exciting than an upset

          • De Mar

            I did say the past 3 ASG. If it can work, then thank you for answering my questions, its all I really wanted to know. I’m still going to check it out, I layer up in the winter anyways.

  • Joshua Chua

    Here’s what I have to say: http://w2hoops.blogspot.ca/2013/09/toronto-to-host-2016-nba-all-star-game.html

    Btw, it’s my blog and it’s a good read!

  • RepRaptorsInTheUSA

    It’s a dream come true guy

  • Pingback: Toronto Raptors to host 2016 NBA All-Star Game | Blake Murphy Sports Writing()