Steve Koonin, CEO of the Hawks and State Farm Arena.
Photo: Bob Andres/
Photo: Bob Andres/

Will NBA All-Star game return to Atlanta?

With the NBA All-Star game being played in Chicago this weekend, the question seems worth asking: Will the event return to Atlanta anytime soon?

“We would love to bring the All-Star game back,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said Thursday, “but there’s a lot of complexity in doing that.” 

The bottom line is that nothing currently is in the works regarding a future NBA All-Star game here, Koonin said.

The game has been played in Atlanta twice — in 1978 at The Omni coliseum and in 2003 at Philips Arena (now named State Farm Arena). The NBA has committed the event to Indianapolis in 2021, Cleveland in 2022 and Salt Lake City in 2023.

“When you bring these big events into the city, you need all the hotel rooms, and you need a tremendous amount of resources,” Koonin said. “And it just so happens one of the biggest conventions of the year (in Atlanta), Cheersport, is the same weekend as All-Star weekend.” 

With that, Koonin was off to catch a plane ... to Chicago for All-Star weekend.

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