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NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 23, 2019
New York, New York
THURL BAILEY: Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to the Vivint Smart Home Arena here in Salt Lake City for a special NBA announcement.
My name a Thurl Bailey, a proud alumnus and broadcaster with the Jazz. I'd like to greet all the fans joining us today on NBA TV and live streaming on the NBA and Utah Jazz websites, apps and social media platforms.
Salt Lake City has a palpable heartbeat this time of the year. At the start of a new Utah Jazz basketball season there is excitement, anticipation, high hopes and promise.
Just when you thought you couldn't be more joyful, we're going to add to what you can look forward to. Vivint Smart Home Arena, which recently underwent a $125 million renovation project, is our community gathering place, with more than 120 events annually, and the home of the Utah Jazz.
This is a special building in Salt Lake City. We've given out Olympic gold medals to Sarah Hughes and Apolo Anton Ohno here. We hosted the two classic NBA Finals between the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls.
We've had concerts with the Rolling Stones, U2 and Taylor Swift. In just a few minutes we will officially hear of another significant marquee event that's coming to Vivint Smart Home Arena and other venues around Salt Lake City.
First, allow me to introduce our special guests on the stage.
CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies CEO and past Utah president, please welcome Steve Starks. (Applause.)
As Salt Lake City's 35th mayor, welcome Mayor Jackie Biskupski. (Applause.)
Taking office in 2009 and currently the nation's longest-serving governor, please welcome Governor Gary R. Herbert. (Applause.)
Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, Adam Silver. (Applause.)
Owner and chairman of Larry H. Miller group of companies, please welcome Gail Miller. (Applause.)
Next, to make the official announcement, we welcome to the podium, Adam Silver. (Applause.)
ADAM SILVER: Thank you, Thurl. It's an honor to be here. As Thurl just mentioned, it's my honor to announce the 2023 All-Star Game will take place here in Salt Lake City. (Applause.)
Let me just add, as the governor and I were just discussing, that big-time events in sports are part of the DNA of the state and part of this city. As Thurl mentioned, so many important events, Finals, have taken place over the years here. In fact, my very first All-Star Game as an NBA employee was in 1993, and so it will be the 30th anniversary of the NBA All-Star Game taking place in Salt Lake City when we come back here in 2023.
Let me also just thank the mayor, the governor, Steve, Gail. It's a tremendous partnership we have between the city and the state, the Utah Jazz organization and the league. Of course, let me thank my colleagues from the league as well.
All-Star, as you all know, it started off years ago, even when we were here in 1993, we used to call it All-Star weekend. I think then it was events on Saturday and Sunday. Now it's very much All-Star week.
As part of that week, and I know part of the commitment from the Miller family to the community, is to leave a lasting legacy from our events over the time here. So thank you for that as well. A tremendous amount of work has gone in already preparing for this announcement today, and a tremendous amount of additional work will go on between now and when the actual game takes place in 2023.
I look forward to being here with all of you and hosting another tremendous event. Thank you again for being here. (Applause.)
THURL BAILEY: As the commissioner just mentioned, the return of the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City will be the 30th anniversary of the Jazz hosting in 1993 in this building. It was the last All-Star Game for Isiah Thomas and the first for Shaquille O'Neal. Harold Miner won the Slam Dunk Contest, and Mark Price captured the Three-Point Contest.
The Western Conference defeated the East 135-132 in overtime as my teammates Karl Malone and John Stockton were both awarded MVP honors. You could not have written a better script.
Our next speaker was not only an eyewitness to that All-Star weekend, but has had a front-row seat to 40 seasons of basketball in Utah. The owner of the LHM Group of Companies and Utah Jazz, Gail Miller. (Applause.)
GAIL MILLER: Thank you. And thank you Commissioner Silver. It's wonderful how a few simple words can make us so happy in Utah.
It's been an honor for me and my family to serve as stewards of the Utah Jazz for the past 34 years. From the day we bought the team, we considered it a community asset. Our plan has always been to keep the Utah Jazz in Utah, so I've taken steps to ensure that that will happen by putting it in a trust.
But going to the All-Star Game, the 1993 All-Star Game was very exciting for me, my family, for our fans and for the whole community. It was an electric and thrilling experience, and one that I will always remember. This arena was just two years old. The West won the game. John Stockton and Karl Malone were named co-MVPs, which was fitting.
Today, we are honored to welcome the NBA and the All-Star Game back to Salt Lake City. Thank you to our public and private partners who have committed their support to securing this opportunity. It really does take a village. Thank you to the NBA for your confidence in our ability to make the 2023 All-Star Game the best game experience in history.
Our newly remodeled Vivint Smart Home Arena is designed to enhance the fan experience from top to bottom. At Larry H. Miller, we are committed to excellence. We're proud to accept this opportunity and to prepare an elevated experience for all who participate in it, whether electronically or live.
Our mission is to enrich lives. This experience will emerge as the All-Star Game comes to fruition, and it will be one to remember. We live by the principle, Go about doing good until there is too much good in the world. We will use this philosophy as we prepare and execute the 2023 All-Star Game.
I'm confident that we will make the local, the national and the global basketball community proud. Thank you to everyone involved. And go Jazz. (Applause.)
THURL BAILEY: If you didn't already know this, the altitude of Salt Lake City is 4,226 feet above sea level. The slogan for the state has been, Live elevated. During his time in office, there has been a rise in economic development, educational excellence and quality of life.
Please welcome the governor of Utah, Gary Herbert. (Applause.)
GARY HERBERT: Thank you, Thurl. We know we're in basketball arena. The microphones are extra tall. You can't put your feet down on the floor unless you're as tall as Thurl or Adam.
But it's a red-letter day. On behalf of that honor, I notice that Thurl has got a red tie on. I've got a read tie. Adam has a red tie on. It looks like we all shopped at the tie store. They are very identical.
Again, red-letter day for all of us here in Utah. We're just happy to have this announcement to be made today. I'm very proud of Utah. Probably a little bit of a bias as the governor, but Utah has great people that live here and call it home. We have a great place to live and raise families and a great place to do business.
We have been named by Forbes magazine six out of the last nine years as the best place in America to do business. So we're known around the country and literally around the world as a great place to have business be accomplished.
But what we are also known as is a great place to have outdoor recreation and sports events. In fact, our slogan is, Utah, the state of sport. It's not just a slogan. It's really a lifestyle, a culture. We talked about that, Commissioner Silver and I, beforehand. It is part of our DNA, and people love sports here. Love to participate, love to view and watch others with their excellence and talents.
Outdoor recreation is a part of what we do. We're good at not only that, but we're good at hosting. I'll just mention some of the things that we've done as the state of sport here in Utah. We're hosted -- and this is all recent -- Supercross World Finals, FIS World Ski Championship, the Red Bull Rampage, Major League Soccer All-Star Game and, of course, the granddaddy of them all, the 2002 Winter Olympics. We've just been named by USOC to host the Winter Olympics again the next time America has that opportunity, which is probably 2030 or 2034. So hosting sporting events, and again as mentioned, 26 years ago we hosted the NBA All-Star Game.
It's great for us to have this opportunity once again to host the world, as it were, here in the great state of Utah. I echo what Gail has said. We are committed. I see we have our speaker of the house, our senate president of our legislature. We're committed to making sure that this is the best All-Star Game ever hosted by the NBA any place.
We're looking forward to having people come and see what Utah has to offer. We are grateful and we should give a thanks to the Miller family and Miller organization for what they've done to help put Utah at the forefront in sports with the Jazz, what they have done here to make it a part of our lifestyle here. And certainly, Commissioner Silver, we want to thank you and NBA for once again choosing Utah as a place to have the NBA All-Star Game.
Looking forward to that. We do say go Jazz, but we welcome everybody to come here and participate in this great state. Congratulations one and all. We thank you very much. (Applause.)
THURL BAILEY: Thank you, Governor. Some of this will sound a little bit repetitive. We didn't really compare notes beforehand. The NBA All-Star Game is making repeat appearances from 1993 to 2023. Well, we hope to double down again. Our city hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2002 and has been designated, as the governor said, as a U.S. candidate city for a potential run for the Olympics and Paralympics in 2030.
Please welcome Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City mayor. (Applause.)
JACKIE BISKUPSKI: Thank you. It is a real honor to be here, Mrs. Miller. Very proud. So hello everyone who's watching at home on NBA TV. I'm Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. On behalf the residents of Utah's capital city, I must say, Welcome back to Salt Lake City.
Here in Salt Lake City we are known as a place who loves to put on an event. We showed that we can do the most of anyone when it comes to our 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. Those Olympics set the bar quite high for future Games. We are very excited, because the spirit of the Olympics has never left the residents of Salt Lake City or Utah.
And as Thurl mentioned, we are ready, willing and able, as we say, to do it again and be America's choice for a future Winter Games.
While we love to ski and skate, at our heart Salt Lake City is a basketball town. Go Jazz, for sure. So you can expect that we will pull out all the stops for the NBA in 2023, and the All-Star Game will be the best ever.
With over 6,000 hotel rooms and 200-plus restaurants and bars, including some of the best microbreweries in the country -- the secret, of course, being our clean mountain water -- there is always something here for everyone in Salt Lake City.
In between on-the-court action, the visitors can also feel a vibrant arts culture scene, high-end shopping, free transit to get around downtown and undoubtedly a city ready to party with the best in town.
Let me assure you, in Salt Lake City an event like this won't be met with a shrug. It's going to be slam dunk. Thank you, Mr. Silver and the NBA, and of course to all the fans, especially my wife and my two sons, Jack and Archie. We look forward to seeing you in 2023. (Applause.)
THURL BAILEY: Thank you, Mayor. Future NBA All-Star Games will be played in Chicago in 2020, Indianapolis in 2021 and Cleveland 2022. The Utah Jazz have a proud All-Star tradition with 12 players participating in 43 games. Frank Layden served as the head coach in 1984; Karl Malone was the game MVP in 1989 before sharing the honor with John Stockton in 1993.
The Jazz have had their share of Rising Stars, Slam Dunk Contest winners and Skills Challenge players. Our next speaker is the past president of the Utah Jazz and now CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Steve Starks. (Applause.)
STEVE STARKS: Thank you, Thurl. Thank you for being here today. An event of this magnitude doesn't happen without the help of a lot of people, and we are very grateful for all of those people who that have participated and worked hard for the last two years on this project.
I also want to recognize some people that are in attendance today. First of all, we want to recognize Greg Miller, who is the governor for the Utah Jazz and member of the Larry H. Miller board of directors. Thankful Greg is here with us today.
We also have with us Steve Miller, who is the vice chair of the Larry H. Miller board of directors. Brian Miller, his wife, Heather. Grateful for other members of the Miller family that are with us as well, Carol, Adam and Zane.
We have two members of our board of directors, Steve Albrecht and Denny Haslam. Thank you for your attendance and support through this process.
We have several elected officials who have been tremendous partners as we worked on this together. We have the Lieutenant Governor, Spencer Cox, who not only is one of the biggest Jazz fans you'll ever meet, but also has been a huge help throughout this process.
We have the Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson. We have the Senate President, Stuart Adams. We have Salt Lake County mayor Jenny Wilson. Thank you for your support and attendance.
And our friends from Utah Sports Commission, the State Office of Tourism, Visit Salt Lake and the Downtown Alliance have all been tremendous partners as we've prepared and made our bid.
We have members of our front office, including the president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports Entertainment, Jim Olson; Dennis Lindsey, executive vice president of basketball operations; Justin Zanik, our general manager; and David Morway, our assistant general manager.
I also went to pause and thank two people who have really made this event happen from within the Utah Jazz and our organization. That's Don Stirling and Carrie Holt Larson. Please give them a round of applause for their leadership. (Applause.)
We're honored to have all of you here today as special guests in this powerhouse lineup that we've seen today. We are excited to bring the All-Star Game back to Salt Lake City and to Utah. As you've seen, we have civic and community and business partners that are engaged, committed to making this a very special and memorable experience.
We're really proud to be in the renovated Vivint Smart Home Arena. Gail and I were just talking that when we started this project three or four years ago, this was exactly the type of event that we hoped would come back because of this beautiful arena, one of the most innovative and guest- and tech-friendly arenas in the NBA and in the world.
With the close proximity of the Salt Palace Convention Center and Huntsman Center as facilities, NBA fans from all over the world are going to enjoy a dynamic downtown atmosphere when they are here for the All-Star weekend. This will be the ultimate experience for basketball fans, global viewers, visitors and certainly our local community.
It's a symbol of Utah's heritage of hard work and innovation, and we couldn't be more excited. Thank you for your support. (Applause.)
THURL BAILEY: Today marks an important milestone for the Jazz, our city and our state. The hard part is that we have to wait three and a half more years for the NBA All-Star Game to be held here in Salt Lake City.
To mark the occasion, all of our participants will now step forward on center stage for a special presentation and photo opportunity. We also want invite Greg Miller, the Jazz representative on the NBA board of governors, and Jim Olson, president of the Utah Jazz, to join us on stage.
THE MODERATOR: If you would like to ask a question, raise your hand.
Q. My question is for Commissioner Silver. As you considered the bids for 2023, what was it about Salt Lake City's bid that stood out among the rest?
ADAM SILVER: A few things stood out. One is the longevity of the Miller family in the NBA. That's certainly a consideration. Greg and I talk all the time. I think that this particular bid was incredibly thorough and well done.
I think, again, something Gail and I talked a lot about as well, is the tradition of hosting big events and sporting events in Salt Lake City. I think, frankly, the final piece was the renovation that Steve talked about to this arena, which puts in the top tier arenas anywhere in the world.
I think the combination of all the those things made it a very easy decision for the league to come back here.
Q. Steve, does the arena need any future renovation before the game is being hosted?
STEVE STARKS: We don't see any major renovations that need to be done. The goal when we started this process was to return it to first class within the league and the world. We certainly accomplished that.
There is always going to be capital invested in the arena to keep it at the front edge of innovation and make it a great experience for our fans, but we don't see anything that's critically missing. There will just be ongoing maintenance and upgrades as we go.
Q. Gail, what does this recognition for your franchise mean to you, as you say, one of the stewards, longtime stewards of this franchise?
GAIL MILLER: For me, it's a recognition of dedication we've had to the sport of the basketball, of what it means to our community. It's fulfilling for all of those who have followed us and been participating as we've built the sport in Utah, and we're grateful that we have been able to accommodate our fans and bring the All-Star Game. So it's very satisfying.
Q. Have you guys looked at the economic numbers coming into our city for these restaurants and area businesses around Vivint Smart Home Arena? Anyone can answer that.
JACKIE BISKUPSKI: Well, I've not done any calculating. I'm sorry. But we do know an event of this size is something that our city is capable of hosting and hosting very well. We also know that the impact will be in the millions, but I don't know exactly where.
GARY HERBERT: Our estimation is probably between $45 and $50 million in impact. We will not only host America, as people see what takes place and of course the All-Star Game is one of the premier events in sports, but the world will be watching, too.
We have had the experience with the Olympics so we know how to do that. But the economic benefit and ripple through the economy is significant. Like I say, close to $50 million.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports