Indianapolis had hosted three professional basketball All-Star Games. The inaugural American Basketball Association (ABA) All-Star contest drew 10,872 fans to Hinkle Fieldhouse on January 9, 1968, to witness a 126-120 victory by the East team over the West.

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All-Star honorary captains, Jerry “Mr. Clutch” West (left), and Oscar “Big O” Robertson (right), 1984 Credit: Indianapolis Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society View Source

On January 24, 1970, the third ABA All-Star Game brought 11,932 spectators to the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Resolution of a threatened player’s strike over league recognition of the ABA Players Association allowed CBS-TV to broadcast the contest nationwide. The West squad won, 128-98.

The 43,146 fans who packed the Hoosier Dome for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) 35th All-Star Game on February 10, 1985, set professional basketball’s one-game attendance record at the time. The West won 140-129. Walt Bellamy, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Oscar Robertson, Tom and Dick VanArsdale, and George Yardley—all of whom had played basketball in Indiana at either the high school, college, or professional level— helped draw 16,665 to Market Square Arena for a “Legends of the Game” contest on All-Star eve.

In addition to these three events, Indianapolis was slated to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse after winning the bid in late 2017. The coronavirus pandemic upset those plans, with the game shifted to Atlanta, Georgia, because of scheduling conflicts. As a result, the NBA has promised the 2024 all-star game to Indianapolis.

Revised March 2021
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