Larry Bird delivers Indy’s 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend bid to Commissioner Adam Silver

Indianapolis always takes whatever it does to another level and sets a new standard — and its bid to host a coveted NBA All-Star Weekend followed that script.

Led by the Pacers Sports & Entertainment, with the backing of team owner Herb Simon, the franchise made a splash Monday afternoon by having Larry Bird, the team president, arrive at the NBA’s Manhattan offices in style … a specially-fitted IndyCar.

The 6-foot-9 Bird got in an Pacers-themed IndyCar at 1:28 pm and drove it five blocks down the far left lane of Fifth Avenue, a one-way street. Bird had an SUV in front and behind him, plus several cops throughout his drive between his lane and the one to his right.

Upon his arrival at NBA Headquarters in midtown Manhattan, Bird got out and posed with PS&E President and CEO Rick Fuson before heading inside to personally share Indianapolis’ bid for the 2021 All-Star Weekend with Commissioner Adam Silver.

Monday was the deadline for cities to submit a bid for the 2020 or 2021 All-Star games.

For competitive sake, specific details have not been announced. The bid, however, does include statewide outreach and a legacy project, much like when Indy hosted the Super Bowl in 2012. And it was a huge success.

“I’m proud and honored to make this special delivery on behalf of our owner, Herb Simon, the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and our other bid partners,” Bird said. “We know that competition for the All-Star Game is highly competitive, but we are hopeful that this demonstrates how Indianapolis routinely and uniquely set itself apart when it comes to hosting major sporting events.”

While in London for the NBA Global Games, as the Pacers played the Denver Nuggets, Commissioner Silver said “I think it’s highly likely that we will return to Indianapolis for an All-Star Game in the near future.”

Several years ago, Simon decided that he wanted to make a push to host an All-Star game once again in Indy. They did so back in 1985, with the featured game played at The Hoosier Dome. It was one of Fuson’s first roles with the Pacers. He’s been there ever since.

LISTEN: Podcast with Rick Fuson from a year ago on Indy’s desire to host All-Star Weekend

The effort to host has been years in the making. A contingent of team officials and city representatives attended the last two All-Star Weekends in Toronto and New Orleans. This year’s group included Fuson, Senior Vice President Facilities Operations Mel Raines, Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn, along with Visit Indy President Leonard Hoops and Senior VP Susie Townsend.

Indy’s quest to land the game is being publicly and privately financed with Simon already committing to make a “significant contribution.” The economic impact for Indianapolis is estimated to be north of $100 million.

Already, Indianapolis is set to host the Big Ten Football Championship Game in December of 2020, the 2021 Women’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament (March 3-7) and the Men’s Final Four (April 3-5).

[Photos and video courtesy of PS&E]

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