POSTED: Sep 30, 2013 11:11 AM ET
A Toronto native, Drake helped announce the city as the host for NBA All-Star 2016.
TORONTO -- Toronto has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2016, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced today. The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Toronto Mayor Rob Ford; Chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Larry Tanenbaum; Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Tim Leiweke; Toronto Raptors President & General Manager Masai Ujiri; and Grammy® Award-winning artist and Raptors Global Ambassador Drake joined Deputy Commissioner Silver for the announcement at the Air Canada Centre.
On Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, NBA All-Star will be held outside the United States for the first time in the 65-year history of the event when squads representing the Eastern and Western Conferences tip off at the Air Canada Centre, home of the Raptors.
Raptors: 2016 All-Star Announcement
"We are thrilled that Toronto is hosting our first NBA All-Star Game outside the United States," said Silver. "As the site of the first game ever in the NBA, Toronto is an ideal location for this global basketball celebration."
"Twenty years ago to this day, the city of Toronto was awarded an NBA franchise. It is fitting that on this day we're able to celebrate a global achievement as the first international host of the NBA All-Star Game," said Tanenbaum. "We have the best fans in the NBA and the 2016 NBA All-Star Game will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate, and continue to grow, basketball in this country."
In 2016, the All-Star competitions will get underway on Friday, Feb. 12, with the Sprint All-Star Celebrity Game and the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, a game featuring the league's top rookies and second-year players. Saturday's festivities will feature State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, an all-inclusive skills showcase comprised of the Sears Shooting Stars, a competition featuring NBA and WNBA players, and NBA legends; the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, a contest of top guards working against the clock to complete a series of passes, free throws, layups and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, a longstanding staple of the evening; and the high-flying Sprite Slam Dunk contest. Sunday's slate of activities will also feature the Sprint Pregame Concert before the 65th NBA All-Star Game. NBA All-Star 2016 will be broadcast to a worldwide audience in 215 countries and territories and in more than 40 languages.
"The 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend is an excellent opportunity for residents, visitors, fans and spectators alike to celebrate their love of the game together and cheer on their basketball heroes right here in Toronto," said Minister Chan. "Hosting internationally anticipated events like the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend strengthens tourism in Ontario, creates jobs and promotes our province as a premier destination for marquee sporting competitions."
"On behalf of the City of Toronto, we are thrilled about today's announcement and will be honoured to welcome the world to our City in 2016 for the NBA All-Star Game," said Mayor Ford. "We'd like to thank Commissioner Stern, Deputy Commissioner Silver and the NBA for their long-time support of Toronto, as well as Tim Leiweke and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment for helping make this dream a reality. This is an exciting opportunity to drive economic development and create jobs while showcasing our vibrant city, and its people, on the world stage."
"The Toronto Raptors proudly play for 35 million fans right across Canada each season and hosting the NBA All-Star festivities in 2016 will be a perfect opportunity to thank our fans for their support while celebrating basketball's rich tradition in Canada," said Leiweke. "We would like to thank Commissioner David Stern and incoming Commissioner Adam Silver for their support and faith in Toronto, the Raptors and MLSE. Toronto is one of the premier cities in the world and we look forward to hosting a world-class NBA All-Star celebration that makes the NBA and basketball fans everywhere proud."
"The City of Toronto and the Raptors mean everything to me, and the chance to be able to play a role with this team is something I could have only dreamed of growing up," said Drake, a Toronto native. "I'm really excited about the direction of the Raptors, and today's announcement about Toronto hosting the NBA All-Star Game in 2016 is another reason why Canadian basketball fans have a lot to look forward to."
Canada is a nation with a great basketball history. The game was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith in 1891, and the country hosted the first-ever NBA game on Nov. 1, 1946, at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. In that contest, the visiting New York Knickerbockers bested the hometown Huskies, 68-66, in front of a crowd of 7,090. The 2013-14 NBA season will commence with nine Canadian players on league rosters, including Cleveland's Anthony Bennett, who became the first Canadian drafted No. 1 overall at the 2013 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. This October, Montreal will host the second annual NBA Canada Series on Sunday, Oct. 20, when the Boston Celtics play a preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Bell Centre.
The NBA will continue its commitment to social responsibility during NBA All-Star 2016 with a full schedule of NBA Cares events. NBA Cares will partner with schools, government, and local nonprofit organizations in Toronto and surrounding areas to highlight the league's grassroots and community initiatives that reach millions of young people and their parents while providing critical resources to community-based programs.
NBA All-Star Jam Session 2016, the NBA's premier fan event, will be held at the Direct Energy Centre at Exhibition Place. This four-day experience will transform the Centre into the world's largest interactive basketball theme park. With nonstop NBA All-Star entertainment for kids and families, Jam Session is the place for fans of all ages to shoot, slam, dribble and drive all day. Jam Session gives fans the chance to experience the NBA like never before and gain unique and up-close access to NBA and WNBA players and legends. Young fans can hang out at Kids Zone, with hoops and interactive activities that are the perfect size for kids' slam dunks, three-pointers and jump shots. For fans who want NBA entertainment, Jam Session features the NBA's favorite players, mascots, dance teams and celebrities as they hit Center Court, which will be held in the historic Ricoh Coliseum, in a variety of basketball competitions, including NBA All-Star Practice and the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.