Top Stories

Memories of 1988 come back as Chicago is awarded 2020 All-Star Game

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Hard not to agree with veteran NBA writer and Hall of Famer Sam Smith, who contends the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago in 1988 was one of the best, if not the best ever.

Those three days are back in the spotlight now that the league announced Chicago will get the weekend again for the first time since ’88. Seems like a long time, and perhaps the frigid temperatures of that weekend put a chill on return plans. But if this weekend tops that one, we’re in for a show. That’s because the dunk contest had Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan and the game had Jordan, Magic and Bird, among others Enough said.

Here’s Smith writing about the memory on the Bulls website:

The 1988 All-Star weekend in Chicago was probably the greatest and most famous in the history of the NBA’s midseason celebration. It featured Michael Jordan’s famous slam dunk duel with Dominique Wilkins, Larry Bird completing his trifecta in the three-point shooting contest with his whimsical walk off court with his finger raised signaling No. 1 with the ball still in the air. It also was the last All-Star game for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with Chicago Stadium fans chanting for one more sky hook as time wound down and, perhaps even more aesthetically pleasing, an actual basketball game taking place.

Chicagoan Glenn “Doc” Rivers, recalled Jordan with the East team hanging onto a 60-54 halftime lead ripping into his teammates. “He didn’t want to lose in his own building and he went off because guys were goofing around,” Rivers said at the time. Rivers said Jordan asked generally if guys wanted to have fun and not care about the result, then someone else can play, Then he stared down coach Mike Fratello.

“I’m not losing in this building,” Jordan spat.

Believe or not, and especially for the All-Stars of this era, that’s the way the All-Star game once was.

The East extended its lead to double digits after three quarters and had enough breathing space for East coach Pat Riley at the urging of the raucous crowd to put Abdul-Jabbar back in and call his famous five down play for a Johnson to Abdul-Jabbar sky hook. Abdul-Jabbar got his basket and Jordan’s East team got the win.


NBA Logo

Want every headline right at your fingertips? Sign up to receive NBA emails!

By clicking "Submit", you agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. You agree that your personal information will be used to send you messages about NBA related products and services, and share your personal information with NBA partners and affiliates so that they can also contact you about products and services that might be of interest to you.