Indy to be center of 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 at the iconic Hoosier Dome. This weekend, the NBA World returns to the Circle City. And as we’ve seen from huge sporting events in the past, we know Indy will do it right.
If you can’t make it to the game itself, there’s a number of other activities for basketball fans to enjoy. Here’s a list of events and information to get you ready for NBA All-Star Weekend:
The excitement begins on Thursday evening with an NBA All Star Tip-off celebration at Bicentennial Unity Plaza at 6 PM. 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.
Friday through Sunday, fans can check out the “NBA Crossover” fan experience, located at the Indiana Convention Center. This 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 kids, and the times are 3-9 on Friday, 12-6 on Saturday, and 12-6 on Sunday.
There are also multiple concerts in the city to check out. T-Pain will perform at 9 PM on Friday night at the Convention Center. Keith Urban and Walker Hayes will be at the Convention Center on Saturday at 3 PM. And Lil Wayne will be at the same location at 3 PM on Sunday.
And now for the basketball info.
Indianapolis is using both Lucas Oil Stadium and Gainbridge Fieldhouse for events, setting a new standard for NBA All Star Weekend that other cities will likely replicate. On Friday evening, the All-Star Celebrity Game will take place at 7 PM at Lucas Oil. Some of the celebrities that are expected to participate in some capacity are: Peyton Manning, Pat McAfee, Jennifer Hudson, AJ Mclean, Jack Ryan, and 50 Cent. Later that night, the NBA Rising Stars Challenge will take place at Gainbridge Fieldhouse at 9 PM, which will showcase the young talent of the League.
On Saturday, the NBA All-Star practice will be available to the public at 11 AM. Fans that purchase a ticket will get to see all of the stars interacting and getting ready for the game. On Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, we’ll get to see the Dunk Contest, 3-point contest, Skills Challenge, and more beginning at 8 PM.
Everything leads up to the 73rd NBA All-Star game at 8 PM, Sunday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. This year, the game returns to the East vs. West format, and the Pacers’ own Tyrese Haliburton is starting for the Eastern All-Stars. Haliburton is also taking part in the 3-point contest, while his teammates Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin will be joining him in the Skills Challenge competition.
The city of Indianapolis is also filled with NBA art, contests, and other activities throughout the city all week long. You can download the NBA Events app to get more information.
I was blessed to receive a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cover the entire weekend, and I can’t wait to share about the experience. Follow along on Twitter @TylerSmith_ISL, as well as the @JR_Sports account and Journal Review Facebook Page for videos, photos, and more from All-Star Weekend.
It’s time for our great state to highlight the great game 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.