History of NBA All-Star in Chicago [NBA All-Star 2020]

By Evan Chronis

May 14, 2019

For the third time in history, NBA All-Star is headed to Chicago. NBA All-Star 2020 will take place from February 14 through 16 at the United Center in the Windy City. 

As the home to the six-time NBA Champion Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan, Chicago holds a special place in the league's history books and another chapter is set to be written at NBA All-Star 2020.

But what happened the last two times that Chicago has hosted the biggest weekend of the NBA season? We're looking back at the history that took place at NBA All-Star 1973 and NBA All-Star 1988. 

NBA All-Star 1973

Location: Chicago Stadium

NBA All-Star Game MVP: Dave Cowens — Boston Celtics

Chicago's first go at hosting NBA All-Star came in 1973, and the Second City didn't disappoint. In front of a crowd of almost 18,000 spectators at the Chicago Stadium, Celtics forward Dave Cowens stole the show as the East stomped the West, 104-84. Cowens scored 15 points and collected 13 rebounds in an MVP performance, while Celtics teammate John Havlicek provided an additional 14 points. 

The 1973 All-Star Game is famous for being the final All-Star appearance of Wilt Chamberlain, who scored two points and amassed seven rebounds and three assists in his 13th appearance in the game. 

A handful of storied players who have made their mark in the game's history made their first All-Star appearances in 1973. Elvin Hayes and Hall of Famers Pete Maravich and Bill Bradley were all selected to their first ever All-Star Game this year, with each becoming a staple of the weekend for several years to come. 

This NBA All-Star weekend was without the events that modern audiences have grown accustomed to. There was no Slam Dunk Contest or Three-Point Competition — in fact, the three-point line wasn't introduced in the league until six years later in 1979. 

For the true stat junkie — the 1973 NBA All-Star Game was the last time that one team didn't reach 100 points. 

NBA All-Star 1988

Location: Chicago Stadium

NBA Three-Point Shootout Champion: Larry Bird — Boston Celtics

NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion: Michael Jordan — Chicago Bulls

NBA All-Star Game MVP: Michael Jordan

In front of a home crowd in the Windy City, Michael Jordan stole the show at NBA All-Star 1988. 

"His Airness" started the weekend off in style, claiming his second straight Slam Dunk Contest title in an unforgettable duel with Atlanta Hawks' swingman Dominique Wilkins. In a showdown between two of the greatest showmen the sport has ever seen, Jordan debuted classics like the free-throw line dunk and the reverse one-handed slam. He and Wilkins went dunk for dunk, but at the end of the day the hometown hero came out on top in front of a raucous crowd. 

In the third-ever Three-Point Contest, Larry Bird dominated the competition en route to his third consecutive sharpshooting title. 

Then came the main event — the 1988 NBA All-Star Game. In one of the most competitive games in the storied history of the midyear classic, the East outlasted the West, 138-133, behind 40 points, eight rebounds, four steals and four blocks from Jordan. The 40-point performance from Jordan ranks fifth all-time in total NBA All-Star Game points. 

In his 18th career NBA All-Star appearance, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 10 points to bring his total All-Star point total to 247 — a record at the time. 

The 1988 NBA All-Star Game was littered with talent that changed the game forever. The Eastern Conference team was comprised of Isiah Thomas, Wilkins, Jordan, Bird, Moses Malone, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale. The Western Conference All-Star were made up of Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Akeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy and Alvin Robertson. 

Get NBA All-Star 2020 Tickets in Chicago

History is made when NBA All-Star is held in Chicago. Want to be a part of the NBA's biggest weekend in 2020? Official Ticket Packages to NBA All-Star 2020 are available now through NBA Premium. An Official Ticket Package includes access to State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, the 69th NBA All-Star Game and other events including player meet and greets, pre-game hospitality and much more. Click below to see all NBA All-Star 2020 package offerings. 

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