Icy blast before Canada warms up for All-Star Game
By Steve Keating
TORONTO (Reuters) - The NBA got a frosty welcome as it brought its All-Star Game north to Canada for the first time where fans and players were greeted by an Arctic blast on Friday but a forecast for plenty of heat over a party packed weekend.
Mother Nature and the host Toronto Raptors provided the stereotypical bone-chilling Canadian winter weather as A-list celebrities, industry kingpins and the world's best basketball players, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry took over the frost-bitten city.
"It's cold; it's really, really cold. Really cold," shivered Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant, who arrived for Media Day on Friday with a toque pulled down snuggly over his head.
"But it really is great to be here. This is a beautiful city, truly deserving to have an All-Star game."
Played outside the United States for the first time in its 65-year history, in a way the NBA is returning to its roots this weekend, since the game was invented by Canadian Dr. James Naismith in 1891.
Paying homage to that bit of trivia, NBA commissioner Adam Silver kicked off an early morning NBA All-Star Technology Summit by having a discussion with a walking, talking life-size hologram of Naismith.
Silver also discussed the game’s history, talking about Toronto hosting the first NBA game in 1946, a time when the commissioner said one could’ve bought an NBA franchise for $10,000.
Normally it is the NHL that rules supreme in hockey crazed Toronto but with the sad sack Maple Leafs languishing at the bottom of the NHL standings the All-Star extravaganza has been a welcome distraction. Continued...