An absolutely amazing trip to Charlotte, North Carolina for All Star Weekend! Met a ton of people and introduced the 9450 brand to all of them. A special shoutout to Matt Tuffufor from YouTube and Toasted Life as well as photographer Osei Appiagyei for letting me tag along on their All Star Weekend adventures. Without further ado here’s my recap!
Started off going to ESPN’s First Take show at Bank of America Stadium featuring a cast of ESPN and NBA legends from Stephen A. Smith, Isiah Thomas, Mike Conley, Max Kellerman, and of course moderator Molly Qerim. It was great to see behind the scenes of how the show is produced, thanks again to Stephen A’s niece and nephew for getting us in!
During the live show, news of Pelicans’ GM Dell Demps firing broke and by chance Mr. Woj Bomb himself, Adrian Wojnarowski was in the building when he tweeted that information out! It was crazy to look at a TV nearby with ESPN on and a little box saying “On the phone: Adrian Wojnarowski”, and then to see the NBA insider on the phone a few feet away from me.
Later on we grabbed dinner at Le Meridian where some of the NBA players were staying at. Through a new friend at YouTube I was able to meet a Klutch Sports agent who represents Miles Bridges, prominent YouTube basketball video creator Lostnunbound, and the founder of Blavity/AfroTech there. It's great meeting them and learning more about what they do. Being able to mix business with leisure is a wonderful thing!
After dinner we hit the NBA Africa party at Fahrenheit for another round of networking and ended the night there. What's cool about this is that on Saturday the NBA and FIBA announced an Africa NBA League.
The real events started Saturday but this was a great start to the weekend!
Visited the Nike Pop Up event at the Mint Museum Uptown, it was an eye opening event. Nike had the whole museum (five floors) decked out in their basketball imagery. The 5th floor had a jersey customization lab featuring Rhude's own, Rhuigi Villaseñor and a Snapchat filter lab which I thought was pretty cool. Got to see Giannis Antetokounmpo play 2k19 against a fan and later on an interview with Lebron James. It was great meeting some people from PMK•BNC while we were waiting for Lebron to take the stage.
After Nike's event it was time for PUMA's. The staff were extremely helpful and wanted everyone to try on the new Puma shoes. It was a Chick-Fil-A level of customer service out there! PUMA had a few rappers out there, Blocboy JB, Trinidad James, Yo Gotti and Nipsey Hussle (shoutout my guy DJ VIP, good seeing you out there!). Also had the opportunity to talk with photographer/brand strategist/official sneakerhead Ray Polanco Jr., I appreciate your words of wisdom man. PUMA definitely has some heat coming out on the basketball side of things, I'm excited to see what they can do with their new design energy.
Later on we went to the Ciroc Black Excellence Dinner at Chima Charlotte, hosted by Lala Anthony, Terrence J, and Roc Nation's own Lenny S. It was a dope networking event and I met some cool people out there, most notably I was able to meet the guys who run the Brooklyn based brand, Lyfestyle. Definitely admire the work they do and I respect their hustle! Ciroc had the drinks on deck, those Carolina Blue drinks were fire!
After watching some of the dunk contest with my guy Mack Wilds going crazy for Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. (that honey dip dunk over Shaq was nuts!!), we ended attending Stance Spades Tournament. This was an annual event for Stance and a farewell party for the legend Dwyane Wade as this All Star Weekend would be his last as he retires this year.
The Stance event was CRAZY! Tons of basketball players and industry people were out there and after my head stopped spinning (probably from the Carolina Blues) I did my best to meet everyone and anyone possible. I knew I was in that room for a reason, it was time to put my game face on and grind!
I can't list them all but here's a few of the players that were out there; D-Wade, D'Angelo Russell, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Kuzma, Reggie Miller, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell. B/R's Taylor Rooks, Ishaan Mishra, Ros Gold-Onwude, Hasan Minhaj, Hannibal Burress, ATLien Fonzworth Bentley, and many more were out there too!
Bleacher Report's mega event at NC Music Factory and The Filmore was on our agenda for Sunday. They had curated a whole day of events with a 2 Chainz concert to cap off the afternoon (before the All Star Game started). It was great to see their amazing dunk contest, celebrity game (featuring my guy Lostnunbound) and the House of Highlights experience (shoutout to UCF's own Omar Raja and the homie C.J. Toledano). McDonald's and State Farm catered the event, I was definitely moving slow after having a Big Mac with bacon and bacon cheese fries. State Farm's eclectic PB & J sandwiches were pretty good as well.
2 Chainz killed his set, it was dope to see him live for the first time. I've been rocking with him since his name was Tity Boi! It was an amazing experience and I want to thank the good folks at Bleacher Report for hosting the event.
After the event my friend Osei and I took an Uber to uptown Charlotte. Unfortunately our driver was very rude and unaccommodating but I didn't let that spoil the festivities (definitely left her a 1 star review though). We arrived at Hickory Tavern and watched the NBA All Star Game with some friends and family. It was a perfect way to end an awesome weekend!
Checkout the visual highlights on our IG: https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17996569480172603/