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November 10, 2017

Adam Silver

Rahm Emanuel

Michael Reinsdorf

John Paxson

Walter Burnett

Kara Bachman

New York, New York

CHUCK SWIRSKY: I'd like to greet all of the fans joining us today on NBA TV, NBA.com and the NBA app as well as Bulls.com and the Bulls app and the Bulls' social channels. This world-class facility, the multipurpose facility, is the home of the Chicago Bulls and hosts over 200 events yearly.

In just a few moments, we will find out about one very exciting event that is coming to the United Center and other venues in and around the great city of Chicago. But we also have a distinguished panel eagerly waiting to share their thoughts on this extraordinary news. So ladies and gentlemen, let's meet the special guests joining me on stage.

First, he was elected to office in 2011 and then re-elected in 2015. Please welcome the Honorable Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of the great city of Chicago.

He's been a part of the Bulls' organization since 1985. Please welcome the Bulls' Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Mr. John Paxson.

He's currently serving his sixth term as Alderman of the 27th Ward. Please welcome Mr. Walter Burnett Jr.

Next, the Executive Director of the Chicago Sports Commission, please welcome Kara Bachman.

He is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Chicago Bulls. Please welcome Mr. Michael Reinsdorf.

And finally, here to make the official announcement regarding today's big news, please welcome to the podium, the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, Mr. Adam Silver. Adam, welcome back to Chicago.

ADAM SILVER: Thank you, Chuck, and thank you all for being here. So it is my pleasure to announce that the 2020 All-Star Game will be coming here to Chicago, Illinois. A few thank-yous are in order. First of all, to Jerry Reinsdorf, who couldn't be here today. Also especially to Michael Reinsdorf, who made this happen, so thank you, Michael.

To Mayor Emanuel. He was referred to as a nudge backstage. I'm not sure if it's an official moniker for you --

RAHM EMANUEL: Everybody is learning Yiddish.

ADAM SILVER: He called regularly, and he was very enthusiastic about bringing the game here, so thank you, Rahm. It's been terrific working with you, and we look forward to being here in 2020.

To Alderman Burnett, thank you very much. We really appreciate your efforts in making this happen. And also to Kara Bachman, head of the Sports Commission. Thank you very much, Kara. Again, we've already begun planning for 2020. We know we're going to have a fantastic event here.

Just a little bit about my connection to Chicago. So I was here in 1988 attending law school when the All-Star Game was last here. Of course there was a Slam Dunk Contest with Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan that people are still talking about today and a fantastic All-Star Game as well. So it's my pleasure to be part of the NBA at a time when the All-Star Game and the surrounding festivities are coming back to town. It was a great event then. I have fond memories of it. I think I was sitting pretty high up in the arena at that time. I'm looking forward to better seats.

I can't think of a better town to have an All-Star Game. I think Chicago is iconic when it comes to sports, certainly iconic when it comes to basketball. There's no doubt some of the best basketball that's ever taken place has happened here in Chicago. One of the changes that's happened, though, from 1988 until now is that it used to be about the All-Star Game, then it was about All-Star weekend and now it's really All-Star week. We're going to be busy planning with the Mayor's office, with the Alderman, with Kara, a week of festivities that will all become part of our All-Star event. This will truly be in 2020 the epicenter of basketball around the world.

So thank you all for being here, and we look forward to working with you.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you very much, Commissioner, and now let's hear from a man who's been involved with the Chicago Bulls since 2001, the President and COO of this great organization, Michael Reinsdorf. Michael?

MICHAEL REINSDORF: 2011. I'm not going to take credit for the seasons of 2001, '02 and '03. Thank you, Adam. The Bulls are incredibly honored that the league has selected Chicago to host the NBA All-Star weekend in 2020. This is obviously a great day for our city and for the Chicago Bulls. Thank you to Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Burnett. They have continuously supported revitalization and redevelopment efforts here in the Near West Side community, and it really is one of the reasons why we could create this amazing campus that is ready to welcome basketball fans from around the world.

I'd also like to thank our partners at Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission. Desiree Rogers, David Whitaker and Kara Bachman, you and your teams were great partners throughout the bid process, and we really look forward to working with you over the next two and a half years as we get ready to welcome the world to our city.

Now, some of you in the audience may recall the idea of having an All-Star weekend in Chicago has been met with kind of a different view in the past from some influential people in the Chicago Bulls' organization: My dad. His direct quote was, "They'd have to force me to take the All-Star Game." Well, what he doesn't realize, there's also other influential people here who thought otherwise. For example, my son Joey, here in the front row. Joey is a junior studying Economics at Northwestern University. We've been going to All-Star Games for close to 20 years. Last year when we were in New Orleans, he turned to me and he said, Dad, since we've been going to these games, it's been in Houston twice, New Orleans twice. It's even been in Vegas, and they don't even have a team. So when Chicago? When is Chicago going to get a game?

There's also another influential person here, and that's Mayor Emanuel. When Adam referred to the fact that he called him on occasion, that's an understatement. After he wasn't getting the right answers from us, he went directly to the Commissioner, who would call him, I think, on a daily basis. We all know Rahm doesn't take no for an answer, and we're glad that we were able to turn that no into a yes.

But in all seriousness, we understand the economic and the cultural impact that bringing the All-Star Game provides the city of Chicago. We really are ready here at the United Center. Our campus has expanded tremendously over the last several years. It started with the building of the Advocate Center, our practice facility, the opening of the East end addition last year, our new office building, the atrium, store, renovations that we continuously make to the arena with new restaurants and retail stores. All of this is going to contribute to an incredible environment throughout the All-Star weekend.

The Bulls are fortunate to be a global brand, and we are even more fortunate to be part of a league whose mission is to grow the game of basketball around the world. So much of our game history lives in Chicago, and we really do look forward to making more history as we welcome the best basketball to the United Center in 2020. So thank you.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you, Michael. And now I would like to introduce the Executive Director of the Chicago Sports Commission, Kara Bachman. Kara?

KARA BACHMAN: The Chicago Sports Commission, if you don't know, is part of Choose Chicago, our tourism bureau, led by David Whitaker and chaired by Desiree Rogers. They created us. The Mayor came in and said, Let's have a Sports Commission and focus on bringing major high-profile sporting events to the city to drive economic impact, create jobs and generate positive media.

So being selected to host the NBA All-Star Game is going to help us do just that. Year after year, this event has produced significant benefit to the host cities and the communities that it's been in. So on behalf of Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission, we'd like to thank Commissioner Silver and this entire events team for believing in us and selecting us to be the hosts for 2020. Clearly this was not possible unless you have a great basketball organization in your city led by someone like Michael Reinsdorf. So their entire team, thank you.

And then, of course, the United Center, terrific, terrific facility that we love working with, and it's just a great opportunity. Proud to call you guys our partners.

I would have to say one more thing about our venues is that it's just become more and more such a key component when we're seeking new business. We're very, very fortunate to have these world-class venues that are really a primary selling point with clients coming in. Our footprint for Chicago's NBA All-Star, as the Commissioner mentioned, we have some planning to do, but it will set the stage for an incredible visitor and fan experience come 2020. The United Center, of course, will host the game, the primary event. But we are very fortunate that we have the brand-new Wintrust Arena, and then of course our very celebrated and iconic Navy Pier, which will host a number of the events throughout the days.

And a few more thank-yous. We have to again say thank you to our executive committee and boards of both Choose Chicago and the Chicago Sports Commission. Our amazing hotel and hospitality community. I know a lot of them came out to support today.

They've been great partners.

And a very special thanks to the Chicago Department of Aviation. They have the task of not running just one airport but two major international airports. They bring in all our visitors, and they do a great job. Many thanks.

Thanks, everyone, for joining us today, and we really can't wait to welcome everyone for the All-Star Game in 2020.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you, Kara. Now please welcome the Alderman of the 27th Ward, Walter Burnett Jr.

WALTER BURNETT: Thank you very much. It gives me a great honor and pleasure to be the Alderman of this area and to represent this community and to represent the Chicago Bulls and the United Center. I'd just like to thank the Mayor and Choose Chicago. I'm very blessed to also be on the board of Choose Chicago, whom I know works very hard to bring events to the city of Chicago. It gives me the opportunity to recognize how having international events in the city of Chicago affects our city. So I just want to thank everyone that's involved.

I'm glad that the Mayor is a nudger. I was the one in the back calling him a nudger, so I'm happy that he was a nudger. He's a nudger for the people in the city of Chicago, trying to make sure that we have events that get people to come to the city of Chicago, that we can get exposure of our city internationally but also get folks to spend money in the city of Chicago. So my ward and the people who live in my ward and work in our ward get the exposure, get the business and they get a lot of the benefits. So we just want to say thank you.

Joey, thank you very much. I know it was you who convinced your grandfather, so I want to say thank you very much. Thank you, everyone.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you, Walter. Our next speaker was a player for the Bulls, an assistant coach, a broadcaster and now an executive. Please welcome John Paxson.

JOHN PAXSON: From a basketball operations perspective, it's really exciting for us and the organization to have the All-Star Game coming and the All-Star week coming to our great city. Adam and Rahm, the ability to work together and bring this here is phenomenal for us. We're giving you a little taste of the weather you're going to get here in February today.

I've been an observer for years. I never had an opportunity to participate, but I've watched the All-Star week grow. Adam and the entire NBA have continued to make it relevant for the entire NBA community, and that's what's exciting about this for all of us. Just the number of events that will be here and the focus of the NBA world in our great city is going to be a wonderful thing for us.

For us as an organization, we're obviously in a position where we have a lot of young players right now, which we'll add to over the next few years. But I look at this as a way maybe for us to use this as a little motivation for a few of our young kids that we have really high hopes for that maybe they can participate in some capacity when that comes along.

Wonderful honor for us, and we're thrilled that we are having the All-Star Game here. Thank you.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you, John. Next up, please welcome the Mayor of the great city of Chicago, the Honorable Rahm Emanuel.

RAHM EMANUEL: Lyndon Johnson had a great quote: When you're the seventh speaker of an event out of seven, everything that needs to be said has been said, it just hasn't been said by everybody that needs to say it. So this is my turn at saying it. It sounded more powerful from a guy 6-4 rather than 5-8 saying that.

First of all, I know we're here to talk about basketball, but I want to thank John McDonough of the Blackhawks because anything we're also doing in the Blackhawks' family here requires cooperation. I was telling Adam just yesterday that we're opening up the Blackhawks' training facility. It's an incredible facility that also is a community investment that Walter and I had worked on.

The truth is last time the NBA All-Star Game was held here, this was a stadium. Now we have a campus. As the All-Star Game became not a game but a weekend and now a week's worth of events, the city of Chicago is in a different place, ready to host the All-Star week in the city of Chicago, not just here at the stadium but also at the entire city of Chicago. You are now in the city that Bon Appétit just rated the No. 1 restaurant city in America. And our capacity to host an event like this is totally different than it was in 1988.

Now, I did promise, and I've got to be honest, I wouldn't call it nudging slightly but being a regular reminder to Adam -- I made him a pledge about the city of Chicago: We will work as hard at putting on the event as getting you to say yes to the city of Chicago. This is not just to get you to say yes and then you forget who we are, as we said to the NFL Draft, the NHL Draft and the Laver [Cup], which is also coming here in 2018. The Reinsdorfs and the Blackhawks, the Bulls and the Blackhawks teams, have been incredibly helpful. Next year is going to be an incredible tennis game held here in the city of Chicago. They have been great partners to our effort. But I made a pledge to Adam: If you say yes to Chicago, I will work as hard putting on the event as getting you to agree to have the event in the city of Chicago.

My whole goal, as I say to everybody, when you pick the city, you're going to get on the plane, and when you get on that plane, you're going to say, Why didn't I do this earlier? That's my pledge to you. We're going to fulfill it.

We're excited not just holding a basketball game but hosting the world, because now the NBA has gone from, the last time we held this, in 1988, from an American game held here in the United States to a world event. So the city of Chicago looks forward to welcoming the world to the most American of American cities, the city of Chicago, and you will be always pleased that you were here. By 2021 you'll say, How do we bring it back to the city of Chicago? Thank you very much.

CHUCK SWIRSKY: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, and thank you to all of our speakers. That's going to wrap up this announcement of the third NBA All-Star Game to be played in the city of Chicago. The game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 18th consecutive year and will mark Turner Sports' 35th year of NBA All-Star coverage.

I'd also like to ask all participants on stage to stick around for a brief photo opportunity. I also want to thank all the men and women of the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Blackhawks and the United Center staff for attending today's event. My name is Chuck Swirsky. Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you.

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