The Toronto Raptors are guaranteed to have an NBA All-Star... (game).
The league confirmed on Monday morning in Toronto that the city would host the weekend of basketball festivities, including the Rising Stars game, the slam dunk contest, and Sunday's superstar showcase in 2016.
It's the first time the event will be held outside of the United States.
"We are thrilled that Toronto is hosting our first NBA All-Star Game outside the United States," NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "As the site of the first game ever in the NBA, Toronto is an ideal location for this global basketball celebration." - Toronto selected as host of 2016 All-Star Game (Reuters)
Of course, that doesn't mean the Raptors will have a player selected as an All-Star. They haven't made the playoffs since 2008 and haven't had an All-Star since Chris Bosh in 2010 but it won't make a huge difference whether or not the hometown team has a representative in the game since most people go watch the Raptors to see visiting stars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant anyway.
Bringing the All-Star game to Toronto is a positive move for the Raptors. It won't change the on-court production but it promises a big pay day and some excitement locally around basketball.
Two other announcements were made on Monday. MLSE President and CEO Tim Leiweke confirmed that the team will not change their nickname (I remain partial to Huskies) but will go forward with a rebrand for the start of the 2014-2015 season, in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the franchise.
Hip-hop star Drake has been brought in to help oversee the overhaul in a position titled "global ambassador." Now at least he'll be allowed into the locker room post-game although it might not be a good idea for players to go hang out with him at the club, just ask Tony Parker.
It's been proven time and time again, stars win in the NBA. Now the challenge for Raptors GM Masai Ujiri is to bring stars to Toronto for more than just a weekend.