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NBA MEDIA CONFERENCE
March 22, 2016
New York, New York
KEVIN HARLAN: This world-class, multipurpose facility we're coming to you from today is home to over 250 events every year. Four million guests will come through the turnstiles and watch great shows, like the Justin Bieber concert we all just enjoyed last night. In just a few moments we're going to find out about a very exciting event that is coming to Staples Center and to other venues in and around the Los Angeles area. We have a very distinguished panel eagerly waiting to share their thoughts on everything that's going on for this incredible, extraordinary event.
First, we have some very special guests here in the audience we'd like to acknowledge. First, the President of Business Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers, Gillian Zucker. In 2013, she took over as team President and co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and is the team's representative on the NBA Board of Governors, Jeanie Buss. We're lucky enough to have with us today the President of Staples Center and L.A. Live, Lee Zeidman.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the guests here on stage. First, since 1997, she has been the President of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, please welcome Kathy Schloessman. Elected to office in 2013, please welcome the Honorable Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. Also in the year 2013, our next guest was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, better known as AEG, Dan Beckerman. And finally, here to make the official announcement we've all been waiting for regarding today's terrific news for Southern California and particularly Los Angeles, the NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.
ADAM SILVER: Thank you very much, Kevin, and thank you all for being here today. It is my honor to announce that the 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be here in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. Thank you all very much.
A few people I'd like to thank. First of all, Mayor Garcetti, you've been fantastic to work with. Really appreciate it. Thank you for being here today. Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG, we've done business with you all around the world, here at Staples Center as well. And Kathy Schloessman, thank you very much for your cooperation and making this all happen.
Also, this is a true partnership having the All-Star Game here, and of course we have two teams that play in this building. First of all, Jeanie Buss, truly NBA royalty, the longest-standing ownership family in the league, 37 years now with the Buss family owning the Lakers, the most successful NBA franchise in modern NBA history. So thank you. What a fantastic partner.
Of course Steve Ballmer, who couldn't be here today, but is doing a wonderful job with the Clippers, and representing the Clippers here today, Gillian Zucker, the President of Business Operations. So thank you, Gillian, and enjoy working with you, as well.
Lee Zeidman, you run one of the best buildings in the league. This is our third time with you here at the Staples Center for an All-Star Game, so thank you very much.
Let me just say a little bit about All-Star. We just had a terrific event in Toronto a few weeks ago. The game was televised in 215 countries and territories, and on social media we connected with 750 million people and still growing. If you go on NBA.com, you can still see that great Slam Dunk Contest. Every day the counter goes up a few more million.
And of course with All-Star, with what we used to call the All-Star Game, and the weekend, and now it's really All-Star week, is the center of basketball activities around the world, epicenter of basketball for that week. And no better market here, in L.A., with the fantastic fans of the Lakers and the Clippers, great weather, lots to do here, and I'm sure the combination of the Lakers and Clippers and AEG and Lee, we're going to come up with some new things to do in 2018 here.
Thank you all again for being here today. We couldn't be happier to be coming back to Los Angeles with our All-Star Game.
KEVIN HARLAN: Now let's hear from the President and CEO of AEG, Dan Beckerman.
DAN BECKERMAN: Thanks very much. Thank you all for being here today at Staples Center for this great announcement. As the Commissioner mentioned, at AEG we're proud to be partners with the NBA around the world, and we've been working closely with the league for years to help showcase their brand and their teams at AEG venues across the globe. We're proud to be joint venture partners with the NBA in China, where we have venues together in Shanghai and in Beijing, and we've hosted numerous other games throughout the world with NBA teams in London and Berlin and even Istanbul and Paris. So I want to thank the NBA for their partnership, and I want to thank Commissioner Silver and the NBA for choosing Staples Center and Los Angeles to be the host of NBA All-Star 2018 for the third time in just 14 years.
We believe that with Staples Center, the Los Angeles Convention Center and the L.A. Live campus, we have the ideal platform to showcase the NBA to the great fans here in Los Angeles. When we think back to when we constructed L.A. Live, it was really built to host events like this, and we look forward to activating the entire campus here at L.A. Live to host the variety of festivities that are going to take place throughout the week and throughout the weekend.
I want to thank Mayor Garcetti for his leadership. I want to thank Kathy Schloessman for her partnership in bringing this great event back to Los Angeles. I want to thank Jeanie Buss and Tim Harris and the Lakers' organization, and Steve Ballmer and Gillian Zucker and the entire Clippers' organization, for making Los Angeles a great basketball town that I know is going to welcome the NBA All-Star Game back in 2018.
And finally, I want to thank the President of Staples Center, Lee Zeidman, for leading this effort on our behalf and bringing the All-Star Game back to Los Angeles for a third time in just 14 years.
So we look forward to seeing everyone here in February of 2018. Thank you.
KEVIN HARLAN: Next speaker was raised in the San Fernando Valley and does a great job of staying neutral when the Clippers and Lakers face each other. Here is the Honorable Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.
HON. ERIC GARCETTI: Thank you so much, and good afternoon, and welcome back, Commissioner. It's so great to have a Commissioner who has done an extraordinary job in this town long before you brought the All-Star Game back. I really enjoyed and value the work that we did just a couple years ago together. You have led this league. You have kept professional sports focused on what's important and what's right, and we couldn't be more excited to see the All-Star Game coming back.
Let's think, it's 2004, 2011, now 2018, we might just have to move it here permanently, Commissioner, but we certainly are ready for the task. And we're ready for the task because Los Angeles is an amazing city of doers and dreamers. We can remember a time when right here there wasn't a Staples Center, when we had a vacant area around our convention center filled with parking lots. But folks like AEG, and thank you, Dan, for all that AEG has done in this city, and Phil Anschutz, for the way you believed in L.A. and the way Los Angeles rallied to create an incredible sports mecca. And that is mirrored throughout the Southland. Whether it's a 21-year drought for the NFL, which is now over when my team, the Rams, comes back, or whether it's the nine NCAA programs that are here, whether it's the Kings, Clippers and Lakers that are right here, or whether it's the two football clubs that we have here, the Galaxy and soon Los Angeles Football Club. This is a place that loves its sports.
And when people come here for the All-Star Game, they're going to see a new Los Angeles, a place that's building out a public transportation network so they can actually take rail lines from Santa Monica straight here, opening this May when the expo line extension goes, or from Pasadena on the gold line to get here. They're going to see a town with great new places like the Broad Museum or reimagined ones like the Petersen. Or they can go out from the All-Star Game to Universal Studios and see Harry Potter as it opens just next month. This is a town that's constantly taking the world stage and bringing it to everyone.
And that's why we're so excited. We love, love, love our basketball here in L.A. I certainly do. And I'm so excited that we'll have the very best, not just in this country but in the world, right here. This isn't just good for the spirit of this town. It's good for the jobs right here. In Toronto, it was estimated $100 million was injected into the local economy, and I'm sure that we'll be able to even pass that here.
So if you're considering coming out for the All-Star Game, make your plans now, book your hotel rooms now. Stay for a few extra days. We can't wait to see you. We can't wait to see an incredible NBA All-Star Game in 2018. Thanks so much.
KEVIN HARLAN: Securing major sporting events for Southern California and the Los Angeles area is the duty of many people, but it rests on the shoulders of the commission President, from the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, their President, Kathy Schloessman.
KATHY SCHLOESSMAN: Thank you, Kevin. As Kevin just said, the mission of the L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission is to bring major sporting and entertainment events to Los Angeles, so it's very exciting and unbelievably humbling for us to be here today to announce that we're hosting the 2018 NBA All-Star weekend. As they've said before, this is actually the third time, which is a big deal, third time in 12 years the NBA has selected L.A. to be the host city for All-Star, 2004, 2011 and now 2018. But a big reason that we've been chosen three separate times is the unique footprint that L.A. Live offers partners like the NBA. Not only do we have an award-winning arena with Staples Center, run by our own Mr. Zeidman, we have the JW Marriott as the headquarter hotel right next door, and in the middle of all this is the catalyst, L.A. Live, where partners like the NBA can host so many other important events that are part of All-Star, all right here, all together, all in downtown, and that makes NBA All-Star more exciting.
AEG has continued to make significant investments here, which helps us. L.A. Sports and Entertainment Commission helps L.A. tourism to compete and win business like the All-Star, like the Grammy Awards, like so many other events, and that makes dollars and cents for our city.
Events like the NBA All-Star weekend fill our hotels, employ Angelenos, bring direct spending to our restaurants, shops, attractions and an economic windfall to our city, $85 million last time they were here, in 2011.
We are a city of endless entertainment, a thriving culinary scene, famous nightlife, gorgeous weather, making us the ideal host city for this event. Welcome back to L.A., NBA, we are thrilled to partner with you again, and we look forward to a fantastic All-Star Weekend in 2018.
Q. Commissioner, obviously many people have already noted it'll be the third time in a very short span, a little unusual, I think. Any particular reason back to L.A., not that anyone is going to be complaining?
ADAM SILVER: You know, I'd just say, a lot of it has to do with the combination you hear of AEG, of course, not just Dan but Phil Anschutz, who runs an incredible organization, who as Dan said we do business with them throughout the world. And then two teams that were eager to participate in it. I think it's unique even more so this time than the last two times, the Clippers and the Lakers having a very close working relationship. I think both with Jeanie and their organization, really excited with Steve Ballmer wanting to be part of this. Of course, it'll be the first time for the Steve Ballmer-led Clippers. And incredible fans here, as the Mayor pointed out. This is truly a sports town. The weather doesn't hurt, and so much to do here.
I would say at the same time, we are trying to travel the All-Star Game throughout the league, and so there are lots of other cities that we're talking to. But I also think coming back here on a regular basis makes sense, as well.
Q. Have you been watching Kobe from afar and his goodbye tour and what are your thoughts on him and his last three weeks of his 20-year career here?
ADAM SILVER: I'd just say that I've been watching him from afar but also close up, as well. I was with him in Toronto for All-Star weekend. I'm here for the game, as well, tonight. Of course, it's just an incredible classy way that one of our greatest players ever is stepping away from the game.
He and I have had many conversations along the way, back from last summer, where he was contemplating retirement, from the day when he called me this season and he said, Today is the day I'm going to announce it. I think it's clear that Kobe is going to remain very, very involved in the game. He's got all kinds of aspirations, everything from directing movies to who knows what. But he's filled with ideas of how he'd like to partner with the league, how he'd like to give back to the game. He's very focused on developing young players. He's spending a lot of time thinking about how he can teach the game to others. So for me, I think each one of those moments sort of as the rundown to the end of Kobe's playing career, I think you never know what you're going to see, and I think he brings something special to each one of those games. It's just fun to be part of it.
Q. About the game itself, there's been a lot of chatter about how cold it was in New York and Toronto. It's already been addressed by a couple of you. Was that part of the decision?
ADAM SILVER: Well, fortunately, our game is played indoors. And actually, I think it was very much a bonding experience in Toronto for our guests, and in fairness to Toronto, it was cold but it was even unusually cold for Toronto, and it was unusually cold for New York the year before. But it didn't stop anyone from having great time, and it worked out well.
It's also nice to come to warm-weather cities, as well, but it's not a prerequisite for how we pick our cities for All-Star.
Q. With the NCAA Tournament going on, where do you stand on the so-called one-and-done rule?
ADAM SILVER: I'm a big fan of college basketball. I've been watching the tournament. It's been incredibly exciting. I'd say from the league's standpoint, our stance remains the same. We'd rather these young men spend two years out of high school rather than one, which is our current rule, before entering the NBA.
Having said that, I recognize it's an incredibly complicated issue, and there are all kinds of life factors for these players that they need to balance. I understand it, the right to earn a living as a professional, the league interest in their spending additional time away from their homes, the maturation of them as young men, the maturation of them as players. We try to balance all of that. So we're currently at 19 as the minimum age. Again, I recognize that there are two sides to this issue. I'm very sympathetic to the players and their families in terms of they're feeling they're at the point in their lives at 18 that they should be able to come directly to the NBA.
At the same time, I'm making a business decision for the NBA, which is to the betterment of the league and the roughly 430 jobs we have in this league. We feel that these players are better off having more time developing as players before they enter into this league.
And I'll add one other factor, which is the more we study the wear-and-tear on their bodies, we're now seeing the type of injuries in young players that we used to see when they were much older. I think there needs to be more of a holistic response to this. It isn't just about whether the minimum age should be 19 versus 20. I think, as I've said before, we need to get together with the larger basketball community and talk about the number of games these young players, boys, are playing, beginning 12, 13, 14, often eight games in a weekend at tournaments. For example, I've said before, in Little League, there's a pitch count. And this is a place where historically at least when I got involved in the league, people were telling the NBA to stay out of youth basketball. I think it's clear now we need to be more involved in youth basketball.
The age issue is part of it, but I think back to the question about Kobe, it's something that he's been particularly focused on. The last two times we've met, it's almost exclusively what he wanted to talk about as he was stepping away from the game, about his experience growing up as a player, largely outside of the United States, versus sort of how the system works now and how we can do a better job preparing these young men for the NBA.
Q. Of all the issues that may be brought up in the next collective bargaining agreement, how much do you think this issue will be brought up from the league standpoint?
ADAM SILVER: Without getting into specifics, it's something we continue to discuss. But as I said, and Jeanie Buss is on our Labor Relations Committee, it's not as if we're just adversaries on this issue. It's a discussion with the players in the room about what's the best way to develop players going forward in the league.
Q. The NBA and the players' union changed the moratorium a couple days or a week ago, they changed the date on that. Can we read into that there's a level of communication and cooperation where we can project that the All-Star Game won't be delayed or there won't be an issue with the All-Star Game with a potential lockout?
ADAM SILVER: Yeah, I think it bodes well. The reference in the question is the fact we shortened the so-called moratorium period before contracts can be signed. I think that is an indication of the level of respect, the level of trust that we're building with the Players' Association, with Michele Roberts, who's the relatively new Executive Director, with Chris Paul, who's the President of the union, and that was one of those issues where we sat down and we said, both of us, that it truly can be a win-win if we shorten that period. We still can accomplish what we think is necessary by having a moratorium, but it didn't need to be 11 days or the number of days that was built into the collective bargaining agreement.
So yes, I think that's how we should be able to conduct business with partners, where we sit down and everybody listens to both sides of the issues and tries to work through things behind closed doors for the betterment of the game.
Q. Mayor, are you going to participate in 2018, looking ahead, in some way in the dunk contest?
HON. ERIC GARCETTI: Yeah, I'm looking -- there's going to be a mayoral dunk contest with a nice trampoline. I've actually always wanted to be on this stage. I had dreams that I'd be talking about that I should have played harder and I'm sorry we lost the game tonight, but I'm going to go back and do even better. But I do hope that the entire city engages because I've been to an All-Star Game before a couple times, and not just here, and it is so fun for the city. So while it's great to have visitors that come in, I hope there are kids that are right here in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley and South L.A. and the East Side that are going to take some time to participate in things, and if they need me to try to dunk with them, I'll do that, but I'll come up a little short, I think.
ADAM SILVER: Mr. Mayor, Steve Ballmer recently dunked.
HON. ERIC GARCETTI: I saw that. That was pretty impressive.
ADAM SILVER: It's a pretty high bar now.
HON. ERIC GARCETTI: If I get that trampoline, I can do it.
Q. Mayor, how would you describe Kobe's impact on the city? We know sports is a departure sometimes for people, but just the impact he's had culturally?
HON. ERIC GARCETTI: I think Kobe has been one of L.A.'s calling cards to the world. One of the great reasons this All-Star Game is here is we're really in many ways America's gateway to Latin America and to Asia. You can make the case that we're one of the western capitals of the United States, one of the northern capitals of Latin America and one of the eastern capitals of the Pacific Rim. And so whether it's in China, where he has an incredible following, and now we have the L.A.-to-China air corridor displaced New York-to-London as the most important in the world last year, and probably won't go back. People come here because they want to see him. They want to have some of that excitement that he has represented.
Even more broadly, I think it represents that L.A. attracts the best people, whether they're lucky enough to be born here or they're smart enough to move here, that's somebody like Kobe. This is a town that demands excellence, that loves excellence, and I think the world, when they think about L.A., he's one of those folks.
KEVIN HARLAN: Just one more person who is here, who is very important in this entire project by the city of Los Angeles to secure the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, the President of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, Kevin James is here.
That's going to wrap up the announcement. Turner Broadcasting and President David Levy are excited about what will be at that time the 33rd consecutive year of covering All-Star, the 16th consecutive year of broadcasting the game with the voice of the NBA, Hall of Famer Marv Albert.
A reminder, too, that the Kia NBA Performance Awards are just around the corner, and that will all be televised live on NBA TV. And, of course, the playoffs are coming up on TNT, ABC, ESPN and NBA TV.
Congratulations, Los Angeles, the home of NBA All-Star 2018.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports