In a move that was widely expected, the NBA announced today that the original plans for All-Star Weekend in 2021 were being canceled.
That’s unfortunate but not a surprise given the pandemic and the likelihood that even with a vaccine, travel and gatherings of that nature won’t likely be safe by February. Indianapolis was set to host, and the league will instead give the city the 2024 edition instead.
Indianapolis will host the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2024, the league said Wednesday, formally rescheduling the plans for that city to be the site of the league’s midseason showcase this season.
Cleveland will host in 2022 and Salt Lake City will do so in 2023, as previously announced. The next open spot on the league’s All-Star calendar was 2024, which now belongs to Indianapolis.
“Public health conditions prevented the Pacers, the NBA All-Star Host Committee and the NBA from appropriately planning and executing fan-focused All-Star activities in Indianapolis that were envisioned for this February,” the NBA said in a statement.
The new dates for Indianapolis’ All-Star Weekend are Feb. 16-18, 2024. Indianapolis hosted the All-Star Game for the first time in 1985.
“While we are disappointed that the NBA All-Star Game will not take place in Indianapolis in 2021, we are looking forward to the Pacers and the city hosting the game and surrounding events in 2024,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
As ESPN’s report notes, this had been in the works for a while, with the league giving up hotel commitments in the summer. The new schedule is so condensed that there’s likely not going to be an All-Star Weekend as per usual, and there might not be an exhibition game at all. That would be understandable; it might make more sense to just build in a few longer breaks and name the teams without playing a game.
Indianapolis, meanwhile, will get to host in a few years when, hopefully, things are somewhat more back to normal. The city won’t be short of basketball, given the men’s NCAA Tournament will likely be staged entirely in the city or the surrounding area, though obviously fans aren’t likely to be able to attend in March, either.