Bethlehem Shoals of THE SPORTING BLOG examines and expands on our idea to have New Orleans host the NBA All-Star game every year:
I hereby offer a slight variation on Brooks’ idea: Why not make a point of putting the game in places that, like New Orleans, have tons of issues with crime, poverty, unemployment, and urban decay?
Shoals cites Detroit, Philly and Balto as cities that fall into that category. Yes, there’s probably 3-4 dozen of those towns (I grew up in one, KC) around the country. They mainly crop up along America’s rust belt.
We’re all for helping the cities that fit that description. Hell, you could rotate the game in a different eastern Michigan town for two decades and have no shortage of hosts (Hello Flint!).
But we’re not so sure New Orleans won’t morph into Baghdad by the bayou if we don’t really start paying attention to what’s going on down there. We can’t see that happening in Akron.
NOLA’s infrastructure wasn’t that significant to begin with, and now it’s completely gone. Sadly, with the financial and societal strife continuing to fester, it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.
Obviously one major sporting event of a national nature every 365 days isn’t the panacea. But if the city has a yearly game to tout, it’s another reason for none of us to forget the mountain of work still to be done there.
And it gives the city hope. Something Tom Benson and the Saints haven’t been able to do for the past 40 years.