SAN FRANCISCO — Count NBA commissioner Adam Silver among the supporters for Boston’s potential bid to host an All-Star Game in the next few years.
The Globe reported in February that Celtics officials are preparing an application, with cooperation from the City of Boston, the Bruins, and Delaware North, the owners of TD Garden. The Celtics are expected to file this fall with hopes of hosting the game in 2025 or ‘26.
“I encourage that application from Boston,” Silver said at his annual news conference before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. “It’s a wonderful city. Obviously, we’ll be there soon [for Game 3].”
Silver said the NBA has recovered from a decade during which several cities appeared uninterested in All-Star Weekend. The NBA called on Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Houston to each host the game twice within 10 years. The fact the Celtics are interested in hosting for the first time in 58 years is a testament to the increased interest in the showcase.
“There was a period, maybe it seems 10-plus years ago, where it became disfavored to have All-Star Games for whatever reason, and now they are back,” Silver said. “I’ve got a long list of NBA cities that would like to have All-Star — it’s not even a game anymore. It’s not even a weekend. It’s a week of activities. We’re thrilled to be in Utah. It’s not just Salt Lake City next year but it’s Utah; it’s the Salt Lake City environs. They push it out to the skiing and hiking in the mountains and everything else.
“For us, we only have that as our neutral-site event, meaning where the league can host guests from around the world and has lots of tickets. Here we are scrounging for tickets, like everybody else in San Francisco, and will be in Boston. It’s a great opportunity for us, and also just we love it as a week to shine the world’s attention on basketball.”
Silver added that he is open to shortening the season if it results in fewer injuries and less load management. So far, he said, that has not been the case.
“It’s something we have been talking a lot about the last few years. And I’m not against potentially changing the format of the season, possibly even shortening it a bit, if we can demonstrate that that’s going to have a direct impact on injuries,” Silver said. “For example, last season, we played 10 fewer games, and essentially had no impact. And people seemingly quickly forgot. I mean, again, it was a function of COVID and our need to start the season later and end later. But we played a 72-game season instead of an 82-game season last year. And, yes, it’s true, if players aren’t on the floor, it reduces the chance they can get injured.
“As I have said before, what we don’t see is increased numbers of injuries as the season goes on. It’s not as if because of fatigue over the course of a season you see more injuries. We do see a connection between actual fatigue, for example, from back-to-backs or three in a row. We think that potentially can lead to more injuries.”
The NBA does not want to reduce the number of games because it would result in reduced revenue. Silver is trying to devise a way to reduce injuries yet keep an 82-game schedule.
“I think the way we are trying to look at it now is instead of reducing the number of games, we are thinking from a competitive standpoint, is there a way to improve what, to many people, is a long regular season,” he said.