NBA All-Star Weekend Orlando, Recap
Sports Media World at NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Recapped by SLAM Online’s Brendan Bowers:
Prior to arriving in Orlando this past Friday, I had never been to an All-Star Weekend. Despite that, I boarded my morning flight from Cleveland thinking I understood the star-studded circuit of events engulfing the NBA’s marquee on this particular weekend. It wasn’t until after my first attempt to navigate through this crowded maze for myself, however, that I began to truly grasp the actual magnitude of this annual celebration.
My trip began in earnest when I touched down at 1:15 on Friday afternoon, and made my way to a media bus parked at the Hilton Hotel. The taxi that took me there from the airport was first greeted by a security detail positioned way out on the street, in front of the place that David Stern and his NBA All-Star contingent called home for the weekend. As we made our way up the long drive approaching the front door, we moved past two more layers of security guards who looked more like secret service. I was convinced that Obama must have been staying there too, right across the hall from Kevin Durant probably.
I boarded the bus parked out back with my luggage still in hand, and proceeded to one of the three NBA Cares Day of Service sites. When I arrived on the Steyr Street Project, one hour after I landed, I found NBA All-Stars Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge on location at that time doing actual work. The Day of Service began earlier that morning, with NBA players, League officials, past legends, and local community volunteers all lending a collective hand throughout the day.
After I left Steyr Street, I made my way back to my hotel to check in. The traffic during that few mile trip was like rush hour in Chicago, and every commute to follow for the rest of the weekend felt the same way. Eventually I checked in, dropped off my bags, showered and quickly changed. I then met up with my two friends who accompanied me on the trip, and we headed off to a private Adidas Basketball dinner at Ocean Prime Restaurant.
We were seated at a table on an outside terrace, and the Cleveland winter I had just left that morning felt like a world away. I ordered the crab cakes and a Stella, and following an enjoyable meal with great conversation, we made our way out into the buzz of All-Star Weekend’s nightlife. The next stop on that Friday night was the Adidas Party hosted by Orlando’s own, Dwight Howard.
We arrived at Howard’s party to find a rented out airplane hanger transformed into a spaciously trendy outdoor Adidas nightclub. The location was lit up with neon lights, red carpet, and a media row that looked to be dropped in from Las Vegas. Adidas logos and shoe displays were hanging from the rafters in carousel like patterns, the bar was open, and the stage was filled with performances from Fabolous, NeYo, Common, Run DMC, B.O.B and others. I stood there feeling like Turtle probably did the first time Vinny Chase brought him out to LA.
Full SLAM Recap: Superstar Experience