Kevin Hart and Skylar Diggins-Smith at 2015 NBA All-Star Celeb Game // © 2018 Juan O'Campo NBAE
Feature image (above): Brandon Ingram at Rising Stars 2017 // © 2018 Andrew D. Bernstein NBAE
In February, fans will turn their attention to one of the premier events in all of sports: the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star game. While it might be nearly impossible to get tickets to this year’s game, which takes place Feb. 18 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, there are a slew of other events that weekend that may still have tickets available.
Every year, the top first- and second-year players compete in the Rising Stars game, which will take place Friday, Feb. 16, at 6 p.m. at the Staples Center. This year, for the first time, the NBA will offer fans the chance to see these players prepare for the Rising Stars game by opening their practice session to the public. The Rising Stars Practice will take place at the Verizon Up Arena at Los Angeles Convention Center (LACC) on Feb. 16 at 9:30 a.m.
Later that day, some of the biggest stars from film, television, music and sports will take the court for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, presented by Ruffles, at 4 p.m. at Verizon Up Arena at LACC.
On Saturday, Feb. 17, fans will get to witness the entire NBA All-Star squad train for Sunday’s game during the NBA All-Star Practice at Verizon Up Arena at LACC at 11 a.m.
Later that night, starting at 8 p.m., is one of the weekend’s main events: State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, featuring the Taco Bells Skills Challenge, the JBL Three-Point Contest and the Verizon Slam Dunk contest. Tickets for this event are usually sold out, but visitors can check to see what’s available.
The next day, at 1:30 p.m., fans can check out the NBA G League International Challenge, presented by Kumho Tire, at Verizon Up Arena at LACC, in which the Mexican National Team will compete against stars from the NBA G League (the NBA’s official minor league).
Finally, the NBA All-Star game takes place Sunday night at 5 p.m. at the Staples Center.
In addition to these events, the league is presenting something called NBA Crossover. This free exhibition-style event looks at art, music, fashion and technology trends related to the NBA. It also promises to have athlete and celebrity appearances. NBA Crossover takes place at The Majestic Downtown from Feb. 16-18 (noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and Sunday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday).
The NBA is arguably the hippest professional sports organization in the world, appealing to all ages and demographics, so NBA All-Star events should appeal to a wide range of tourists. And even if visitors don’t make it to any of the official NBA events, travel agents might want to remind their clients that they should be on the lookout for more celebrities and athletes than usual around town that weekend — especially if they seem really tall.