It's been a long time since Chicago last hosted the NBA All-Star Game, but Commissioner Adam Silver claimed to remember it well.
Silver said he was attending law school at the University of Chicago at the time and snagged a seat in the upper reaches of Chicago Stadium to watch Michael Jordan win MVP of the 1988 game.
The Bulls and the United Center were officially named host of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Friday and Silver had plenty of praise for his former college home.
"I can't think of a better town to have an All-Star Game," Silver said. "I think Chicago is iconic when it comes to sports, certainly iconic when it comes to basketball. There's no doubt some of the best basketball that's ever taken place has happened here in Chicago."
Bulls President Michael Reinsdorf made light of his father Jerry's refusal to host the game since '88. Several NBA teams have refused the game, with a common argument about too many tickets distributed to league sponsors and not enough left for the team's season-ticketholders.
"His direct quote was they'd have to force me to take the All-Star Game," Reinsdorf joked.
Michael Reinsdorf also said he's attended several all-star games with his son Joey and credited his son for pushing the idea of Chicago hosting again, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"We all know Rahm doesn't take no for an answer," Reinsdorf said. "We really are ready here at the United Center."
The speakers talked about how the United Center campus has expanded to include a Bulls practice facility, office building, team shop and atrium. Chicago Sports Commission director Kara Bachman said all-star events would also be held at Wintrust Arena and Navy Pier.
Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson tied the Bulls' rebuild to the future All-Star Game.
"We're obviously in a position where we have a lot of young players right now," he said. "I look at this as a way maybe for us to use this as a little motivation for a couple of our young kids that we have high hopes for that they can participate in some capacity when that comes along."
Boss praises effort:
Bulls President Michael Reinsdorf, the son of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, shared some thoughts on the state of the Bulls' rebuilding project, still in its early stages.
"Right now we're happy," he said. "The team is playing really hard. Fred (Hoiberg's) got them playing really hard. It's not going unnoticed. Hopefully, the fans will start to take notice, because we know this isn't necessarily about wins and losses this year, but we do want to make sure the team and the players are trying their hardest to win games and giving their best effort.
"Because that's kind of the mentality the city of Chicago has and the fans -- work hard and see what happens. As far as the rebuild, the Cubs did a great job with their rebuild, the White Sox are in the midst of their rebuild, and I think the fans kind of understand that's the nature of sports."
Silver on suspension:
Commissioner Adam Silver on how the Bulls handled the Bobby Portis-Nikola Mirotic practice altercation: "If the incident was getting proper attention from the team, the league did not need to step in. I do think they have handled it the right way." ... Finland native Lauri Markkanen on Friday morning's snowfall: "This is actually the happiest I've been in a while, to see it snowing. I've been looking forward to it for a long time,"