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Take to the skies over Indy in preparation for the NBA All-Star Game

(Provided Photos by/Drew Narsutis)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis, known for its rich basketball heritage, is once again in the global spotlight as it prepares to host the NBA All-Star Weekend at Gainbridge Fieldhouse from February 16-18.

This is a momentous occasion for the city, marking the second time it has hosted the event, with the last being in 1985 at the Hoosier Dome.

The 1985 All-Star Game was a memorable event featuring basketball legends such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Isiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson. Despite the star-studded lineup, it was Ralph Sampson from the Houston Rockets who clinched the MVP title with an impressive performance.

Interestingly, no Indiana Pacers players were part of the game, but two future Pacers head coaches, Bird and Thomas, made significant contributions. The event was also notable for the largest crowd at an NBA game at that time, with 43,146 fans in attendance.

Fast forward to 2024, Indianapolis is ready to host another spectacular weekend of basketball. The NBA Rising Stars Game on Feb. 16 will feature the league’s up-and-coming talent, followed by the HBCU Classic and the much-awaited All-Star Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, featuring the skills challenge, 3-point contest, and dunk contest. The weekend will culminate with the 73rd NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18, showcasing top players from the Eastern and Western Conferences.

The 2024 All-Star Game is not just about basketball; it’s a celebration of the sport’s deep roots in Indiana, blending art, music, fashion, technology, and entertainment. This event is set to provide an immersive experience for fans, with player appearances and live performances.

The 1985 game, remembered for its star-studded lineup, is contrasted with this year’s game where Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers will be making an appearance as a starter. This marks Haliburton’s second selection for the All-Star Game, highlighting his prominence in the league. The All-Star Game itself will return to the pre-2018 format with teams representing the two conferences and will continue the tradition of donating to charity based on the team’s performance. Alongside Haliburton, stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid from the Eastern Conference, and Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Luka Dončić from the Western Conference are set to play, promising an exciting showcase of basketball talent in Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

As Indianapolis gears up for this global sports spectacle, the city is keen to showcase its passion for basketball and its vibrant community spirit. With a legacy of hosting significant sporting events, the 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend is poised to be an unforgettable experience for basketball fans and a proud moment for the city.