Indy will be the center of the NBA world this week
The last time the city of Indianapolis hosted the NBA All-Star Game, I was a few months away from being born, Kareem and Magic were playing in the game, and it all took place in the iconic Hoosier Dome. This weekend, NBA World returns to Circle City. And as we’ve seen in huge sporting events in the past, we know Indy will get it right.
If you can’t attend the game itself, basketball fans can enjoy a number of other activities. Here is a list of events and information to get you ready for NBA All-Star Weekend:
The excitement begins Thursday evening with an NBA All Star Tip-off celebration at Bicentennial Unity Plaza at 6 p.m. Special guests will be in attendance including Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings, Indy native comedian and actor Mike Epps, as well as Pacer legends and musical guests.
From Friday through Sunday, fans can experience the “NBA Crossover” fan experience, located at the Indiana Convention Center. It is an interactive fan event featuring player appearances, live performances and activities. Several current NBA players and NBA Legends will make appearances. Tickets are $35 for adults and $20 for children, and hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
There are also several concerts in the city to discover. T-Pain will perform at 9 p.m. Friday night at the Convention Center. Keith Urban and Walker Hayes will be at the Convention Center Saturday at 3 p.m. And Lil Wayne will be at the same location Sunday at 3 p.m.
And now for the basketball news.
Indianapolis uses both Lucas Oil Stadium and Gainbridge Fieldhouse for events, setting a new standard for NBA All Star Weekend that other cities will likely replicate. Friday night, the All-Star Celebrity Game will take place at 7 p.m. at Lucas Oil. Some of the celebrities expected to participate in some capacity are: Peyton Manning, Pat McAfee, Jennifer Hudson, AJ Mclean, Jack Ryan and 50 Cent. Later in the evening, the NBA Rising Stars Challenge will take place at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 9 p.m., which will showcase the league’s young talent.
On Saturday, NBA All-Star practice will be available to the public at 11 a.m. Fans who purchase a ticket will be able to see all the stars interact and prepare for the game. Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium we’ll watch the Dunk Contest, 3-Point Contest, Skills Challenge and more starting at 8 p.m.
It’s all leading up to the 73rd NBA All-Star Game at 8 p.m. Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This year, the game returns to the East vs. West format, and Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers starts for the East All-Stars. Haliburton is also competing in the 3-point contest, while teammates Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin will join him in the Skills Challenge competition.
The city of Indianapolis is also filled with NBA art, contests and other activities throughout the city throughout the week. You can download the NBA Events app for more information.
I was lucky enough to receive a unique opportunity to cover the entire weekend and I can’t wait to share the experience. Follow us on Twitter @TylerSmith_ISL, as well as @JR_Sports and the Journal Review Facebook page for videos, photos and more from All-Star Weekend.
It is time for our great state to highlight the great sport of basketball.
Tyler Smith covers the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Hoosiers for IndySportsLegends and is a frequent contributor to the Journal Review. He is also the youth and sports pastor at New Hope Christian Church.