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August 12, 2014

Hornets submit bid for NBA All-Star weekend in 2017 or 2018

The Charlotte Hornets will bid for NBA All-Star Weekend in 2017 or ‘18. The event was in Charlotte once before, in 1991, when the original Hornets played here.

The Charlotte Hornets officially announced their bid to host the NBA all-star game on Tuesday morning. They will bid for both the 2017 and ’18 all-star games, hoping to lure one of them to Charlotte.

Team and city officials both said that Time Warner Cable Arena will need various upgrades of close to $42 million whether or not its bid succeeds for an all-star game. These would include improvements to the scoreboard and the lighting system, but other specifics were not revealed. It was also not clear whether the Hornets would make a contribution to the arena upgrades or if it would be funded entirely by hospitality tax revenue.

Fred Whitfield, the Hornets’ president, said he expected “8 to 10” NBA teams would bid for the 2017 and ’18 all-star games and that the deadline to do so is Aug. 15. Whitfield, team mascot Hugo, former player Dell Curry and a couple of prominent members of the Charlotte Sports Foundation were scheduled to leave immediately after Tuesday’s news conference on a chartered plane to hand-deliver the Hornets’ bid to the NBA offices in New York.

“We are sincere, and we are ready,” Whitfield said about the all-star game bid.

Team owner Michael Jordan was not at the news conference. Whitfield said Jordan was “just finishing up” hosting a basketball camp in California.

Charlotte last hosted the NBA all-star game in 1991, in the early days of Hornet-mania. Whether the city will get to do so again will likely not be known for more than a year. Whitfield said he expected the NBA would winnow the bidders down to a short list of about four teams in the spring of 2015, followed by a final decision in the fall of 2015.

The locations of the 2015 NBA all-star game (New York) and 2016 game (Toronto) have already been decided.

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