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The McDonald's All-American Games Are Leaving Chicago

By Stephen Gossett in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 2, 2017 8:47PM

2015 McDonald's All-American Game / Getty Images / Photo: Jonathan Daniel

Some sad news that will go over like an airball for local hoops fans: the McDonald's All-American Games—the premiere annual series for high-school basketball—will no longer call Chicago it's home.

The annual hoops exhibition has taken place at the United Center every year since 2011, showcasing the top boys and girls high-school talent in the country. It felt like a great fit for a city that remains one of the nation's great high-school basketball towns. Anthony Davis, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor were among the local greats to participate on their up.

But the games will apparently no longer have a permanent homebase and will instead switch to a rotating format, according to Crain's. The All-American Games moved from city to city from 1978 to 2010, prior to establishing their Chicago roots.

"We're going to try to get back to the roots," McDonald's Head of Global Alliances John Lewicki told reporter Danny Ecker at Crain's. "We learned a lot on how to run it more efficiently, but it also became a little stale."

As the report notes, the most recent exhibition was marred by a pretty ugly brawl. Roughly a dozen people were seen caught up in a melee in a United Center concourse at an All-American game in March. But in the report Lewicki did not cite that episode as a reason for the decision. He noted that Chicago offers many competing amusement options and said McDonald's would sometimes end up discounting tickets. "Not that Chicago didn't support it from the beginning, but there's a lot going on in Chicago, there's a lot of different opportunities for entertainment dollars," he told the paper.

Still, he said McDonald's would seek cities larger than mid-sized places like Louisville, KY, which hosted in 2007. Past hosts have included San Diego, Cleveland, Boston and many others.

Chicagoist has reached out to McDonald's All-American Games and the United Center and will update this post as needed.

The McDonald's All-American Games confirmed the change on Friday with Chicagoist. Morgan Wootten, famed coach and Selection Committee Chairman for the Games said in a statement:

“We’re grateful to the city of Chicago for setting a standard of excellence as a host over these last seven years. As home to McDonald’s headquarters and many local basketball stars over the years, our tenure in Chicago has been memorable. We’re excited to bring the Games to other sports cities and to more fans across the country as we did for the first 33 years its of existence."