Chi-Town is gonna be lit next month when the 69th annual NBA All-Star Game is played at the United Center. Events will take place throughout the weekend of February 14th. I’m not even the biggest basketball fan, but hearing about the game and all the events that will occur that weekend made me hype to be in the mix. However, after I saw those ticket prices, I questioned who would actually be able to enjoy the game and the weekend. I mean I can’t afford the thousands of dollars that the tickets cost, and I know that large majority of lower and middle class Chicagoans can’t either.
My anxiety quickly faltered when I got the chance to talk with the Vice President of Social Responsibility for the NBA, Todd Jacobson, about how the event was going to serve the Chicago community. I mean we all know that the real basketball fans and supporters can be found on any block in the city, so of course those people should get to participate in All-Star weekend. Jacobson acknowledged my concerns and expressed that the NBA strives to “use the platform that Chicago leaders and the Bulls have built within Chicago communities and give support and specifically long lasting support.”
It’s surprising to see all of the work that the NBA is doing that nobody really talks about. We always hear about the high profile celebrity game and the actual All-Star game, but nothing about the other events they have to offer. To kick off the weekend, there will be an NBA Day of Service where players, guests traveling for the game, and community leaders volunteer to give back to Chicago. On the Friday of All-Star weekend, the plan is to essentially establish how the organization values serving local communities. It doesn’t stop here though. Collaborations with After School Matters, Social Works, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, prove that the NBA is working closely with those in Chicago to create sustainable opportunities and programs within the community.
The NBA also hosts a Junior NBA Day where over 1000 youth from around the city will get together to share the love of basketball. Different youth organizations will be given the opportunity to participate in activities. On Saturday, the All-Star Practice & Media Day will be at the Wintrust Arena to give fans a chance to see the biggest stars being interviewed and practicing for the big game on Sunday. The NBA Crossover event is taking over Navy Pier the entire weekend. Its goal is to showcase how the NBA has affected culture, art, music, and fashion. There will be several NBA player appearances, musical performances by Rich The Kid and French Montana, and even exclusive product drops. This seems like the place to be for a good time and a close look into how the NBA has affected people’s lifestyles for years.
So be on the lookout for all the events the NBA has to offer during the All-Star weekend. Maybe you’ll see True Star out there representing the community. Stay tuned for more True Star coverage on our blog and follow us on IG @true.chi.
By Kyla Hubbard, Senior, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School