The Jazz's bid for the 1991 NBA All-Star Game includes an option to play the game on Monday night instead of the traditional Sunday afternoon.
The Jazz's proposal was one of five that arrived at the NBA office by Thursday's deadline. Because a new arena may not be ready by the 1990-91 season, Jazz officials decided to take a more creative approach to the All-Star Weekend to in hopes the NBA would award them the game, even if it has to be played in the 12,444-seat Salt Palace. The NBA's decision is due sometime this fall; the new arena's status may not be determined by then."At least we took a shot at being a little more creative," said Jazz
vice-president David Allred. "There's the mentality at the league office that nothing is ever set in stone."
The Jazz's plan is backed by the mayor's and governor's offices and travel officials have secured commitments for 2,300 hotel rooms.
The format for the last five All-Star Weekends has included the All-Star Saturday events - the old-timers game, the slam-dunk contest and, more recently, the three-point shooting contest - with social events on Friday and Saturday nights. The Jazz's Proposal "B" calls for winter sports activities on Sunday and the game on Monday night.
The Jazz set a standard for the NBA's Annual Meetings when league officials came to Salt Lake City in June 1984, providing special activities. "Because we have some credibility, that's got to help us," noted Allred. "At least they know we've got the ability to pull this off."
Allred says the availability of a new, much larger arena is not a major factor in the Jazz's winning the bid - but it couldn't hurt. What's more, fewer than 5,000 public tickets would be available for a game in the existing arena. Owner Larry Miller's timetable for playing in a new facility fits exactly with the '90-91 time frame. "I'm saying we can't play here (the original Salt Palace) more than two years," Miller said this week.
Miller supports the efforts of the inter-governmental group that is working on a proposed Salt Palace II, a nearby new arena, but is anxious for decisions to be made soon enough so construction can start in time to meet his deadline. He's asking that group to make studies and consult him early in the process. "We're going to tell them what we have to have to make everything viable, and if that doesn't work for them, we'll go do our own deal," he noted.
The NBA has awarded the 1989 All-Star Game to Houston, with events scheduled for both the 16,611-seat Summit and the 50,000-seat Astrodome. The 1990 game is still pending.