Blazers putting best foot forward in bid for All-Star Game

Portland seeking game in 2017 or 2018

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers writer

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On Friday morning the Portland Trail Blazers were told that the NBA officially received their bids to host either the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

The team's Twitter account posted a picture of the box with the official bid proposal along with the words "We Want Next."

Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan had stated multiple times that the team intended to put their "best foot forward" in getting the All-Star Game to the Pacific Northwest.

The theme of Portland's bid is "We Got Next," selling not only the team's rising profile on the court but Portland's growth as a city for an event of this size. The bid also highlights Portland's role as the country's sports apparel capital with Nike and adidas headquartered in the city.

"We have two All-Stars on our team. We wanted to position the organization but also along with that is talking about all of the great things the region and city have to offer when it comes to hosting a big event," McGowan said. "It's our belief that it would be a great city and area to host this event."

The Blazers are one of four franchises in the NBA that have yet to host an All-Star Game along with Toronto, Memphis and Charlotte. Toronto won the bid to host the 2016 All-Star Game while Charlotte is, so far, the only franchise competing against Portland for the All-Star games in 2017 and 2018.

"We have the best fans in the NBA and they deserve it, simply put. We're one of three franchises that have never hosted an All-Star Game," McGowan said in a radio interview with KXTG-AM 750 in Portland.

For McGowan, the only thing he says that can be done outside of submitting the bid itself is the hope that decision makers at the NBA offices in New York keep an open mind.

"The thought of coming to the Pacific Northwest first and foremost," when asked what else he and the Blazers can do to try and convince the biggest celebration of basketball to Portland. "Reiterating that we have enough hotel rooms. Last time we placed a bid there weren't enough hotel rooms. 1,500 hotel rooms have been added and we wanted to make the league aware of that."

Hotel rooms and hotel space has long been the league's biggest sticking point with Portland as a potential host city.

There are enough rooms to accommodate the game. McGowan has said in other interviews addressing the bids that the league may have to get past using more hotel properties than they are used to, since Portland's hotels are smaller.

McGowan also said that the Blazers have been in close contact with the right people to make the game happen, should the bid be accepted, from a logistical perspective.

"The Mayor has been supportive," McGowan said. "We talked to the folks at Metro, the county, the corporate community, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging association, politicians in Salem and the Oregon Sports Authority."

The next step in the bid process will be questions and comments from the league about the bid. McGowan said that the decision could be made as early as the first part of 2015.