All-Star updates: Viewer ratings surged for All-Star Saturday Night events | Lil Wayne provides energetic finale for NBA concerts

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IBJ will bring you updates throughout the week on the latest downtown developments, pop-up stores, entertainment, celebrity sightings, art installations and anything else related to NBA All-Star Weekend.

Check this blog regularly for the latest on all the activities leading up to the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

10:14 p.m., Sunday

Viewer ratings surged for All-Star Saturday Night events

All-Star Saturday Night—headlined by the Stephen Curry vs. Sabrina Ionescu 3-point contest—had 10 million unique viewers in the United States, the NBA said.

That’s the most viewers in four years and represented a 54% increase from last year, according to the NBA.

All-Star Saturday Night typically includes the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest, but this year’s events in Indianapolis had a new feature: a 3-Point Challenge between NBA superstar Curry and WNBA great Ionescu. Viewership peaked Saturday during their shootout, according to TNT.

Associated Press

7:58 p.m., Sunday

Lil Wayne provides energetic finale for NBA concerts

Lil Wayne closed out the NBA All-Star Weekend concert schedule with a vigorous showing Sunday at the Indiana Convention Center, pouncing on hip-hop tunes worthy of head-banging and employing a vulnerable touch on a handful of ballads.

The New Orleans native thanked the NBA for the gig, saying, “There are a lot of artists out here. They did not have to choose me.”

Lil Wayne
Rapper Lil Wayne will perform Feb. 18 at the Indiana Convention Center. (Photo provided by United Talent Agency)

The NBA All-Star Pregame Concert joins a list of memorable performances by Lil Wayne in Indiana, including a 1999 show as a member of the Hot Boys at Market Square Arena, a 2011 show in Bloomington with Niki Minaj as a supporting act and a 2014 date of the “Drake vs. Lil Wayne” tour at Ruoff Music Center.

Whether you know him as Lil Wayne, Weezy or Tunechi, the 41-year-old rapper hasn’t lost a step. His rendition of 2011 song “Blunt Blowin’ ” conveyed legitimate menace, while “She Will” (also a selection from 2011 album “Tha Carter IV”) represented a glimpse of heartache.

Lil Wayne arrived onstage wearing an Indianapolis-themed NBA All-Star leather jacket suggestive of motorcycle racing gear.

It would be difficult to characterize Lil Wayne as punctual, because his performance began at 5:30 p.m., about two hours later than a reasonable start time for a show advertised to begin at 3 p.m.

Then again, he showed up late for his role as an assistant coach at Friday’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. He arrived on the bench of coach Stephen A. Smith just in time for halftime.

On the bright side, Indiana rapper Kid Quill made a surprise appearance Sunday as Lil Wayne’s supporting act. Kid Quill, otherwise known as DePauw University alum Mitch Brown, took the stage around 4:15 p.m. and delivered his signature blend of strong melodies, conversational rhymes and nostalgic storytelling.

Before Sunday’s show headlined by Lil Wayne, the Indiana Convention Center hosted NBA All-Star concerts by Machine Gun Kelly and DJ Diesel on Friday and Keith Urban, Walker Hayes and Jelly Roll on Saturday.

Dave Lindquist

3:45 p.m., Sunday

Indiana basketball history on display at The INDex site

The Indiana Historical Society and the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County are sponsoring a basketball history exhibit at Pan Am Tower. (IBJ photo/Daniel Bradley)

All-Star fans can learn about Indiana’s professional basketball history at a special exhibit at the corner of Capitol and Georgia streets.

The Indiana Historical Society and the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County are sponsoring the exhibit at Pan Am Tower with displays taking visitors from the Indiana Kautskys of the 1930s to the Indiana Pacers and Fever.

There is also a display case with facts about Chuck Taylor, an Indiana native and the namesake of Converse’s most famous sneaker, and a video about the famous Crispus Attucks High School boys basketball teams of the 1950s.

Carl Bradley is the owner of Broad Ripple-based Kicasso Sneaker Art Bar. (IBJ photo/Daniel Bradley)

Visitors can also meet Carl Bradley, owner of Broad Ripple-based Kicasso Sneaker Art Bar. Bradley had samples of sneakers featuring artwork of basketball stars including Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The exhibit is in a 3,000-square-foot space that will eventually be known as The INDex, which will feature exhibits from area museums when it opens later this year.

3:20 p.m., Sunday

Jr. NBA program lets kids learn new skills

Kids 13 and younger participated in a basketball skills workshop at the Indiana Convention Center on Sunday, one of several activities offered through the Jr. NBA youth outreach initiative. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Hundreds of local children participated in a basketball skills workshop at the Indiana Convention Center on Sunday, one of several activities offered through the Jr. NBA’s youth outreach initiative.

The kids, all of whom were 13 or younger, worked with dozens of basketball coaches to learn and hone skills including dribbling, shooting and passing.

“They’ve gotten a lot of good tips and skills that maybe they haven’t picked up yet from their coaches,” said Meghan Kremer, a south-side Indianapolis resident and parent of two children participating in the event. “Here, they’re also around a lot of different kids who have different skills, so they also pick up stuff from that.”

Kremer’s children, 7-year-old Nora and Emerson, 11, spent time on several courts set up inside the western portion of the convention center, working through various drills with different groups of coaches.

Eleven-year-old Emerson Kremer participated Sunday in the Jr. NBA skills workshop. (IBJ photo/MIckey Shuey)

Andrew Thompson also attended the event with his daughter and nephew. He said he appreciates that the NBA incorporates events like the skills challenge into All-Star Weekend.

“They know a bit about basketball already, but they’re having a fun time today—they’ve enjoyed it a lot,” he said. “It’s just a good, fun thing for them to be able to do.”

2:18 p.m., Sunday

G League game features Mad Ants players

About 600 fans filled the stands Sunday afternoon at the NBA G League Up Next Game on Sunday in the Indiana Convention Center. (IBJ photo/Daniel Bradley)

About 600 fans filled the stands Sunday afternoon at the NBA G League Up Next Game in the Indiana Convention  Center.

The event featured four teams of seven players each, including Indiana Mad Ants players Kyle Mangas and Oscar Tshiebwe. The teams competed in two semifinals, followed by a championship game.

The Mad Ants, who played in Fort Wayne from 2007 to 2023, are playing their home games at Gainbridge Fieldhouse until they move to Noblesville in late 2025.

The team will play in a new 3,400-seat event center that is under construction in the city’s Innovation Mile district.

Mangas, a Warsaw native, played four seasons in college for Indiana Wesleyan University and averaged 29.5 points per game as a senior.

Tshiebwe was named the Associated Press men’s basketball national player of the year in 2022 for the Kentucky Wildcats.

2:10 p.m., Sunday

A walk-through of Butter at Indy’s Home Court

Part of what the 2024 Host Committee has dubbed the Cultural Corridor, the fine arts exhibit Butter at Indy’s Home Court has attracted steady crowds since it opened on Friday in the Indianapolis Artsgarden

The free exhibit—a sort of mini version of the annual Butter fine arts fair created by cultural startup GangGang—takes up most of the 19,000 square feet of the arts space, a glass enclosure over the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets. Twenty-nine creators are included in the event, which is meant to highlight Black artists.

Here’s a walkthrough of the space filmed by IBJ’s Daniel Bradley.

1:30 p.m., Sunday

Morris, Zeller honored by Athletes in Action

Athletes in Action, a national organized focused on Christianity in sports, honored two Hoosiers on Saturday at a breakfast event at the Indiana Roof Ballroom

Jim Morris, the vice chairman of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, received the 2024 Jerry Colangelo Award, which recognizes “someone in NBA management who displays excellent character and leadership in all areas of life.”

Morris joined the Pacers in 2007 after serving as executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme, which he led for five years. Over his long career, Morris also served as former Mayor Richard G. Lugar’s chief of staff, president of the Lilly Endowment and chairman and CEO of IWC Resources Corporation and Indianapolis Water Company.

Athletes in Action gave its 2024 Bobby Jones Award to New Orleans Pelicans forward-center Cody Zeller, a native of Washington, Indiana, who played at Indiana University.

The award honors athletes who are role models in their contributions on the court, in the workplace, in the home and in the community. It is named after Bobby Jones, who was part of the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers team that won the NBA championships.

“Athletes in Action is honored to name Jim Morris and Cody Zeller as this year’s recipients—representing all that is great about the game,” said Jared Miller, director of Athletes in Action Basketball, in a statement. “Their respective achievements both on and off the court are remarkable. Seeking to make those around them better, they embody the very characteristics that these awards personify.”

10:05 p.m., Saturday

Pro-Palestinian protestors rally downtown amid All-Star activities

About 100 pro-Palestinian protestors marched through downtown Indianapolis Saturday night as the city hosted large crowds for the NBA’s All-Star events at Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center.

The rally began around 8 p.m. at the Richard G. Lugar Plaza. WIBC reported on X (formerly Twitter) that the marchers then moved toward the convention center and stopped a few blocks away from the stadium, where the NBA was holding its All-Star dunk and three-point competitions.

The rally came just a day after President Joe Biden said that he has pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza.

According to the Associated Press on Thursday, the Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 27,000 people, the Health Ministry in Gaza said. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.

The war began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault into Israel, in which militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250. Hamas is still holding over 130 hostages, but around 30 of them are believed to be dead.

IBJ staff and Associated Press

9:27 p.m., Saturday

Haliburton shot gives Team Pacers the win in All-Star Skills Challenge

Tyrese Tipoff
Indiana Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton arrives at Thursday’s Tip-Off event for NBA All-Star Weekend at Bicentennial Unity Plaza. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Two-time All-Star Tyrese Haliburton made a half-court shot with 20.5 seconds to go in the tiebreaking timed half-court shot Saturday night to give Team Pacers the NBA’s Skills Challenge crown over Team All-Stars.

Haliburton, Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin teamed up to win the night’s first two competitions — the team relay and the passing competition — at Lucas Oil Stadium, just a short walk from their home arena.

Team All-Stars’ win in the shooting contest tied the score at 200, forcing the tiebreaker.

It took Team All-Stars 58.8 seconds to make its first half-court shot. Haliburton needed just 38.3 seconds for a win that continued Indiana’s dominance on All-Star weekend.

Mathurin was selected MVP of Friday night’s Rising Stars game after leading Team Jalen past Team Detlef, a game that pitted two former Pacers players as coaches — Jalen Rose and Detlef Schrempf.

The 3-point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest and the inaugural WNBA-NBA 3-Point shootout between Sabrina Ionescu and Stephen Curry are still to be decided.

Associated Press

6:30 p.m., Saturday

Crowds swarm Circle Centre

Large crowds filled Circle Centre Mall on Saturday to shop stores related to NBA All-Star Weekend. (IBJ photo/Samm Quinn)

Circle Centre Mall attracted bigger crowds than it has seen in years on Saturday as fans swarmed temporary pop-up stores selling exclusive sneakers and sports gear associated with NBA All-Star Weekend.

One crowd favorite appeared to be Curry’s Game Room, where fans could play old-style arcade games and buy new Curry Brand sneakers splashed with retro NBA Jam video game colors and unveiled just in time for the NBA’s big weekend in Indianapolis.

Many stores, ranging from Jordan Brand to Mitchell & Ness, offered interactive experiences and will continue to operate through Sunday. A large Foot Locker store on the first floor of the former Carson’s has an interactive LED half-court, basketball clinics, footwear customization stations and has scheduled athlete appearances.

Greg Weaver

6:15 p.m., Saturday

Winston-Salem State tops Virginia Union in NBA HBCU Classic

Winston-Salem State forward Imajae Dodd (44) is fouled as he shoots by Virginia Union forward Joshua Caine (44) during the second half of the HBCU Classic NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

While Virginia Union coach Jay Butler would have liked a different outcome, both teams had a winning experience at the NBA HBCU Classic.

Ketron Shaw scored 15 points and Jaylen Alston had 14 points and 11 rebounds to pace Winston-Salem State to a 64-47 victory Saturday in the NBA HBCU Classic. Issac Parson added 12 points and 11 assists for the Rams (17-8, 11-5 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association). Jaylin Parker scored 11 points,

Tahj Harding led Virginia Union (11-17, 6-9 CIAA ) with 11 points and Travis Vaughn added nine points.

The game between the two NCAA Division II teams from the historically Black universities was played at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the same court as the NBA All-Stars will play on Sunday night.

“This was big time,” Butler said. “This was an awesome event. Something things kids will remember for the rest of their lives. When we first got here, they rolled out the red carpet from the airport, to the hotel to the arena.”

Being a Division II school, Butler said the players don’t get to play on this kind of big stage.

“It’s big for our school and program and for our recruiting, moving forward,” Butler said. “I just want to thank the NBA and all those sponsors for basically allowing this event to happen. It is big for the HBCU community just to get this opportunity to play in front of millions on national TV.”

Associated Press

5:45 p.m., Saturday

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff speaks to basketball clinic, meets All-Stars

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff was in the first row on Saturday.

The husband of Vice President Kamala Harris was courtside for the HBCU Classic at the NBA’s All-Star weekend in Indianapolis, taking in a college game between Virginia Union and Winston-Salem State. He spoke earlier Saturday at a basketball clinic, as did some WNBA players, for girls between the ages of 7 and 17.

Emhoff makes no secret of his basketball fandom; he’s been a Los Angeles Lakers season ticket holder for years. In her 2019 memoir, Harris revealed that Emhoff initially reached out to her by a text message he sent from a Lakers game.

“It’s what brings us together,” Emhoff said of sports in an interview with The Associated Press. “Because of what’s happening in the real world, sports is one of those things that we can all agree on. It brings us together. We can be in a room with 20,000 people, all cheering for the same thing, we can all talk about it, I can talk to my son about it, I can talk to my father about it. It brings generations together.”

At the basketball clinic, Emhoff told the players that sports can be a great tool to address gender inequities.

“When there’s things that aren’t fair, in particular to women and girls, I can use this microphone to advocate that that’s just not right,” Emhoff told the girls as they broke into applause. “Things need to be fair, things need to be equal and men need to support women.”

Associated Press

5:04 p.m., Saturday

Why Fountain Square is home to some NBA fashion

From left, Shawn Motley, Christian Resiak, Monty Matuka and Cahmelan Porter pose for photos following their Creative Summit discussion Saturday at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

Christian Resiak and Monty Matuka, two leaders of the Indianapolis fashion community, talked about their work with NBA teams during a Creative Summit panel discussion Saturday at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

Resiak’s leather goods company, Howl & Hide Supply Co., initially was hired by the Detroit Pistons to make duffel bags for the team’s players. Resiak said Howl & Hide’s client list has expanded to other teams in the NBA.

Matuka’s upscale sportswear company, MELI, established a partnership with the Indiana Pacers in 2023.

Howl & Hide and MELI have locations in the Fountain Square neighborhood, which Resiak praised as a cultural hub.

“The pureness of Fountain Square is still there,” Resiak said. “We have a lot of new buildings and a lot of new businesses. We have a lot of people interested in Fountain Square. But the bottom line is that Fountain Square is still Fountain Square. It’s littered with art and culture and love and community. I will stay there forever because of that.

MELI, which first-generation Congolese American Matuka launched in 2020, is an acronym for “More Equality, Less Ignorance.” The company operates a showroom in the Murphy Arts Building, 1043 Virginia Ave.

“Fountain Square is continuing to develop,” Matuka said. “It’s not as corporate-y. There’s a lot of creative freedom. There’s a lot of different entities of fashion, art, music and food.”

The panel discussion presented by cultural firm GangGang was moderated by Cahmelan Porter, co-founder of Cargo Streetwear Boutique—a Fountain Square business that took over the former location of Wildwood Market, 1015 Virginia Ave.

The panel also included Shawn Motley, who earned an MBA from Indiana University and now works for Miami clothing store Unknwn. NBA icon LeBron James is a co-owner of Unknwn.

Dave Lindquist

4 p.m., Saturday

Long lines plague NBA Crossover event 

Visitors to the NBA All-Star Weekend interactive fan event, NBA Crossover, on Saturday afternoon stood in line for more than an hour to get into the event.

An IBJ reporter on site estimated that what looked to be more than 1,000 people were waiting in line to enter at about 3:45 p.m. Forty-five minutes later, organizers were able to clear the line and get people inside.

The fan experience at the Indiana Convention Center started Friday and runs through Sunday. At 400,000 square-feet, the event takes up about half of the convention center.

It’s also the site of a Keith Urban and Walker Hayes concert tonight, doors for which opened at 3 p.m.

Some tickets to the event were sold ahead of time online, and visitors had to select a time they’d attend. But tickets can also be purchased at the door, organizers said.

The long lines had visitors taking to social media to share their complaints.

One X (formerly Twitter) user, Andrew Sigal, said the event was one of the most disorganized he’s ever attended.

“There is no excuse to make your guests wait over an hour to even enter the event. The line is as long as the eye can see and there are no event workers around to support,” he tweeted.

Pacers spokesman Danny Lopez referred questions about the situation to the NBA. A person familiar with the situation said the league worked with convention center security and its vendor to address the logjam.

For full story, click here.

Samm Quinn

3:45 p.m., Saturday

NBA wives move often, juggle business challenges

Like many basketball wives, Sabrina Galloway has learned to get ready to move at a moment’s notice.

Every two or three years, she has had to pack up the house as her husband, former NBA guard Langston Galloway, moved from team to team.

“We’ve moved a lot in the last few years,” Galloway, president of the National Basketball Wives Association, said with a laugh Saturday during a panel discussion at the Women’s Empowerment Summit at the NCAA Conference and Events Center downtown.

Langston Galloway played for the New York Knicks, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, among other teams. Two years ago, he signed with the Indiana Pacers, but was waived a month later. He now plays for the UnaHotels Reggio Emilia in Italy, where they live.

Now, Sabrina Galloway is busy juggling an armful of businesses, along with two young children. In 2021, she and her husband co-founded a sneaker and apparel company called Ethics, which has rolled out several models under the 1gONE and 1gTWO brands. She also is chief strategist of the Galloway Group, a brand consulting firm, and co-founder of the Langston Galloway Foundation, which works to improve the well-being of student-athletes. She has an MBA from Tulane University.

How does she keep so many balls in the air?

“I call it the art of the day,” she told a crowd of several hundred people. “You’re going to be juggling different balls. You have to prioritize and execute. So whatever is most hot and the most pressing, I tried to go with that. You know, if my kid is sick, I’m dropping everything, and I won’t be able to make that (meeting).”

The NBWA is a membership charity organization for the wives and significant others of NBA players. Its goal is to galvanize women and help achieve economic stability for families and women. It had net assets of $89,462, according to its 2022 tax filing.

Sabrina Galloway’s biggest inspiration? Her mom, who was an engineer and worked for the same company for 30 years.

“And I think that her work ethic is what I brought to entrepreneurship from a non- traditional standpoint. So seeing her continue to do the thing that she was passionate about, and she knew it but also encouraged me to be there and multifaceted.”

John Russell

3:31 p.m., Saturday

‘The Suite’ serves up local food, entertainment

More than 100 people were gathered at the former Rock Bottom restaurant on Washington Street—a space dubbed The Suite in the Cultural Corridor—for local food and entertainment.

The spot—established by the NBA All-Star Host Committee and cultural startup GangGang—is meant to be a hub for visitors that showcases Indianapolis culture.

The Suite includes food from restaurants in the International Marketplace, a bar, a music stage and a small retail area are on the ground floor. Live music series “Chreece Presents: Nap City the Basement” is in the basement of the building.

Here’s a walkthrough of the space at midday Thursday:

1:34 p.m., Saturday

Tyrese Haliburton: ‘I’m kind of like the prom king of the weekend’

During All-Star media day, Tyrese Haliburton said, “It’s been a zoo. It’s been a lot, but it’s been a lot of fun,” talking about his experience during NBA All-Star Weekend so far.

“I’ve been told I’m kind of like the prom king of the weekend,” he added.

Mickey Shuey 

1:17 p.m., Saturday

Guy Fieri talks Indy’s food scene 

Restaurateur Guy Fieri is enjoying his time in Indianapolis during NBA All-Star Weekend, and teasing that upcoming episodes of his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” television show will showcase the city’s growing food scene.

Fieri, who also owns numerous restaurants, was spotted chatting with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry in a hallway of Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Saturday during Media Day activities.

Guy Fieri greets Stephen Curry. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Afterward, IBJ caught up with Fieri, who said he has been in town throughout the week filming for the show at six local restaurants, with fare ranging from vegan-friendly, to soul food, to a sandwich shop.

“I can’t give you those locations … but look forward to the next six months to eight months when those shows get aired, because you’ve got some gems,” he said. “There are a couple of vegan restaurants that are outstanding, a couple soul food restaurants that we went to that are great, and you got a sandwich shop downtown that is the bomb.”

Fieri said the city’s food scene is emerging and that he believes Indianapolis should be recognized for it. He added that he thinks Indianapolis’ collection of museums, restaurants, music and art is often overlooked, but he is hopeful that will shift.

“I was saying this the other day to one of my diners, drive ins and dives joints—it should get a lot more attention for all the cool stuff that goes on here,” he said. “I know the Indy 500 always gets the recognition, but there’s definitely a good food scene.”

He also said he thinks Indianapolis is doing “a great job” hosting All-Star, despite the shift in weather that brought more than four inches of snow to downtown on Friday.

“You guys are doing a great job, [although] I don’t know that you ordered the snow on the right weekend,” he said. “But no this is great.”

Mickey Shuey

12:21 p.m., Saturday

Pacer Myles Turner lauds Indianapolis as host city 

Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner lauded Indianapolis as a host city during his media availability Saturday morning, before participating in the Kia Skills Challenge during All-Star Weekend evening events at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“I take so much pride in it,” he said of Indianapolis. “I think people are starting to see why we are one of the better host cities.”

Turner, who is part of the Pacers team in the Skills Challenge—alongside Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin—is participating in several events throughout the weekend. He attended an event at Christamore House on Thursday and was at the NBA Crossover on Friday. Here’s what he said about community service:

Mickey Shuey

12 p.m., Saturday

NBA All-Star visitors see the light of art installations

Nighttime video projections on downtown buildings are captivating basketball fans visiting Indianapolis for NBA All-Star Weekend.

The arts and culture committee within the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee arranged for four light-based installations of public art, “Kinetic Reflections,” “Rebounding Reflections,” “Shining a Light: The All-Star Spark,” and “Evanescent.”

Read the full story from IBJ’s Dave Lindquist here.

11:12 a.m., Saturday

Pop-up coffee shop ready for customers

The former Pearings Café + Frozen Yogurt space, located at 6 W. Washington St., has become host to pop-up coffee shop Plaid and Pearls. The concept was created by Indianapolis-based entrepreneur Keri Hughes.

It serves creative drinks like a cookie dough flavored matcha and a few different bakery items. The shop is adorned with basketball-inspired paintings by local artists.

It’s part of a transformation of the block of Washington Street between Meridian and Illinois streets organized by Indianapolis arts and culture organization GangGang and the All-Star Host Committee’s arts and culture subcommittee. The “cultural corridor” includes the former Rock Bottom restaurant at 10 W. Washington and the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

Plaid and Pearls is also the starting point for walking history tours led by Sampson Levingston, which incorporate the other corridor sites as well.

Taylor Wooten 

11:15 p.m., Friday

Pacers’ Bennedict Mathurin earns MVP in Rising Stars game

Indiana Pacers guard Bennedict Mathurin put on a show for his hometown fans Friday night, earning the Rising Stars MVP award after scoring 13 points in a 26-13 victory in the championship game.

Indiana Pacers player Bennedict Mathurin (right) won the Most Valuable Player award for the Rising Stars game on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Highly touted San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama didn’t make it that far. Despite scoring 11 points, his team was eliminated in the second game. (The Rising Star event was a mini-tournament, starting with four teams in single-elimination play.)

Jalen Williams, Mathurin’s teammate, scored the other 13 points to give coach Jalen Rose the title.

But it was an all-Pacers celebration.

In addition to Mathurin’s big night — he heard “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants while scoring a game-high 18 in the first game — coaches Jalen Rose and Detlef Schrempf, both former Pacers players, advanced to the championship round. And Indiana rookie Oscar Tshiebwe led Schrempf’s team with eight points in the title game.

Mathurin’s early scoring flurry helped Rose’s team pull out to a quick 12-4 lead and a 6-0 run set it up for Oklahoma City’s Williams to close it out.

Associated Press

9:10 p.m., Friday

LED court stars in celebrity game

An LED basketball court, one of the top conversation starters of this year’s All-Star Weekend, debuted Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium with the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

The court’s adaptable graphics impressed during pre-game ceremonies, when introductions were accented by large photos at mid-court and players walked on images of red carpets.

During the game, animated graphics were used to designate stunt scoring opportunities such as 6-point circles featuring the photos of game coaches Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A. Smith. Made shots from 3- and 4-point distance (with the latter being a Ruffles “Ridgeline” promotion) triggered celebratory graphics on the court.

About 60% of the seats were filled by attendees, who cheered enthusiastically for players Jennifer Hudson, former Indiana Pacers player Metta World Peace, online influencer Kai Cenat and actor Dylan Wang. The Indianapolis crowd delivered a mix of applause and boos for Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Former Indiana Pacer Metta World Peace (right) brings up the ball during the NBA All-Star Celebrity game on Friday night.

Stroud and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons showed considerable hoops aptitude, with Parsons being a dominant scorer in the first half.

Rapper Common and Indianapolis-based ESPN personality Pat McAfee attended the game, and rapper Lil Wayne was a late-arriving assistant coach for the team led by ESPN “First Take” co-host Smith.

Sharpe, counterpart to Smith on “First Take,” was assisted by rapper 50 Cent.

Dave Lindquist

7:30 p.m., Friday

Vivica A. Fox, Deborah Asante talk careers in the arts

From left, Deborah Asante, Vivica A. Fox and Kyra Epps talk about their artistic careers Friday as part of GangGang’s Creative Summit at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. (Photo provided by GangGang)

Actress and Indianapolis native Vivica A. Fox said she became a basketball fan when her late father, William Fox, took their family to Indiana Pacers games during the team’s ABA era.

Back in Indianapolis for NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, Fox said the family’s tickets at Indiana Farmers Coliseum weren’t the best.

“We used to sit in Section 9,” Fox told the IBJ. “We had nosebleed seats, but he had all of his four children there.”

On Friday afternoon, Fox spoke during a panel discussion with Deborah Asante, founder of Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis Inc.

Kyra Epps, co-star of HGTV show “Buying Back the Block,” moderated the chat during opening day of the three-day Creative Summit at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

Known for her onscreen work in films such as “Soul Food,” “Independence Day” and 2002’s basketball-themed “Juwanna Mann,” Fox made her debut as a film director with 2023’s “First Lady Of BMF: The Tonesa Welch Story.”

While speaking with Asante and Epps about artistic paths, Fox said this is an encouraging era for Black filmmakers.

“We are so blessed now that we have streaming,” she said. “We have our own networks, where they can’t tell us we can’t get the numbers or we can’t sell internationally. Now, with all the wonderful streaming services and more of us being able to make things independently, it’s changed a lot. We are in more power positions: producers, directors, the owner now of studios, with Tyler Perry.”

Asante’s current project is the role of director for “A Touch of Glory,” the play based on the historic Crispus Attucks High School basketball championship of 1955. Presentations of “A Touch of Glory” are scheduled Friday through Sunday at the high school, 1140 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St.

Asante, who founded the Asante Children’s Theatre before expanding its scope to the Asante Art Institute, told the Creative Summit audience that storytellers should pursue their dreams.

“Don’t let anybody stop you, especially when you are driven or have a vision,” she said. “So often we get smacked down. They will say, ‘Who are you to have a vision?’ Each and every one of us, if we are living and breathing and willing to love, we are worthy of whatever we go after.”

6:15 p.m., Friday

Friday night a snowy mess downtown

Six hours of snow took its toll downtown as crews worked to clear Monument Circle on the Friday night of All-Star Weekend. The lights and music still attracted some revelers.

IBJ staff

4:54 p.m., Friday

Haliburton flexes gaming skills in NBA 2K League Showdown

Tyrese Haliburton took to the court on Friday to show off his skills—albeit in a virtual setting.

The Pacers star, who is participating in events throughout All-Star Weekend, participated in the NBA 2K League Showdown at Indiana Convention Center, facing off against Philadelphia 76ers player Tyrese Maxey as part of a three-on-three matchup. The battle of the Tyreses also featured a trivia contest, won by Haliburton’s group.

The game was won by Maxey’s squad, 23-20.

Mickey Shuey

4:50 p.m., Friday

League demonstrates NB-AI tool to make watching games more interactive

At an invitation-only tech summit Friday morning, the NBA demonstrated an artificial intelligence tool that could allow basketball fans to watch live games in entirely new ways.

NBA Commissioner and Adam Silver and San Antonio Spurs player Victor Wembanyama demonstrated the NBA-trained voice assistant, called NB-AI, to hundreds of guests at the NBA All-Star Tech Summit at the JW Marriott.

Using a clip from a previous Indianapolis Pacers game as an example, Silver demonstrated some of the voice-activated tool’s capabilities.

For instance, fans watching a game might tell NB-AI that they want to buy a pair of sneakers identical to those worn by a player. The tool would then bring up information on those shoes, allowing the fan to buy the shoes on the spot. The tool could also allow fans to watch a live game as though it were a dramatic movie or a superhero movie.

Upon receiving that command, NB-AI could generate a different version of the game in real time, showing the action from different angles than the live television cameras are capturing, with added music or visual effects.

A video clip from the demo can be found here.

The demo did not include details on when the tool might be available for public use or how fans woukld be able to access it. The NBA did not immediately respond to IBJ’s request for details on these points.

Friday’s tech summit also featured panel discussions and appearances by a host of other notable guests, including entrepreneur (and Indiana University alumnus) Mark Cuban, sports commentator and former NFL player Ahmad Rashad and CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, among others.

Susan Orr

4:45 p.m.. Friday

Rotating restaurants offer global tastes at the Suite downtown

Tanorria Askew
Chef Tanorria Askew poses Friday at the International Marketplace Food Hall at the Suite, 10 W. Washington St. (IBJ photo/Dave Lindquist)

The International Marketplace Food Hall opened downtown Friday for three days of business.

As part of the Suite—a mix of dining, beverages, music and comedy in the former Rock Bottom Brewery location at 10 W. Washington St.—the food hall features 10 restaurants working in the same kitchen.

Half of the restaurants offer menu items in a shift that begins at 11 a.m., and half of the restaurants take a shift that begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 11 p.m.

The International Marketplace in the Lafayette Square area partnered with Tanorria’s Table, a personal chef service founded by “MasterChef” competitor Tanorria Askew, to bring the food hall to NBA All-Star Weekend.

Askew said the concept is a good fit for the event that culminates Sunday’s with the NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

“Because All-Star brings in cultures from all over the world, having 10 restaurants that represent seven different cultures gives people a taste of home,” Askew said.

Participating restaurants Jiallo’s and Madina specialize in African flavors, while Biryani House and A Cup of Chai prepare Indian food. The roster also includes Bibibop Asian Grill, Black Leaf Vegan and Punkin’s Pie Sweet Treats.

“I’m really proud, because all of these are small businesses taking on a big task this weekend,” Askew said.

The Tennessee native who grew up in Indianapolis made cuisine her full-time occupation after a Top 5 showing during the 2016 season of “MasterChef.”

“Once you’ve chased your dreams on MasterChef, you can’t go back to corporate,” she said.

Dave Lindquist

1:15 p.m., Friday

Snow is falling on All-Star festivities

Snow began falling midday Friday but fans were still shooting photos on Monument Circle. (IBJ photo/John Russell)

Snow began falling midday on Friday and is expected to continue into the evening, with accumulations of 2 inches to 4 inches.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory until 9 p.m. Friday. The advisory covers portions of central, east central, north central, south central, southeast, southwest and west central Indiana.

At 1:38 p.m., the temperature was 32 degrees. The high for Friday was expected to be 33.

12:28 p.m., Friday

Australian artist drops out of All-Star public art lineup

Bloomington-based Blockhouse Studios created the “Kinetic Reflections” video projection for the north side of the building at 141 S. Meridian St. (Photo provided by Indy Arts Council)

A video projection on the exterior of a South Meridian Street building has been revamped after the artist hired to create the work dropped out of the project.

Australian artist Wendy Yu was unable to participate in the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee’s public art plans because of unforeseen circumstances, including travel and technical complications, according to the Indy Arts Council.

Yu had planned a projection titled “Secret Worlds on South Meridian Street” in collaboration with Bloomington-based Blockhouse Studios.

Blockhouse took over the project, now titled “Kinetic Reflections,” and retained imagery of Indianapolis-based artists and athletes originally intended for Yu’s work. The massive video projection on the north side of 141 S. Meridian St. includes representatives of Iibada Dance Company, 31Svn Dance Academy and Dance Kaleidoscope as well as WNBA and Butler University basketball players.

Blockhouse created another All-Star Weekend video projection, “Rebounding Reflections,” that’s on display on the nine-story H. P. Wasson & Company Building at the northwest corner of the intersection of Washington and Meridian streets.

Dave Lindquist

12:03 p.m., Friday

Local designers show collections at fashion show

Three Indianapolis fashion designers—Langston Christopher, Monty Matuka and Berny Martin—showed collections Thursday night to a well-dressed crowd of about 250 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom.

They were among seven designers participating in Sip & Marvel’s “Indy Noire” show, which was staged on a swanky runway decorated with crystal basketball goals and lined with red velvet love seats and gold-trimmed chairs.

Sip & Marvel was established to highlight the work of Black designers, who are underrepresented in their industry. In 2022, Black designers made up 4% of the members of the Council of Fashion Designers trade association.

Organizer DeAndra Alex on Thursday night credited Matuka, founder of fashion label MELI, with persuading her to bring the event to Indianapolis for All-Star Weekend. She and co-founder Chris Smith, a former NFL player who died last spring, staged the first Sip & Marvel at All-Star Weekend in 2019 in Charlotte and again the following year in Chicago.

But the pandemic and Alex’s battle with breast cancer put the event on hiatus until this year.

Thursday’s event started with a tribute to Smith. Then just before the models began walking, Alex told the crowd that “our culture has been leveraged” by big fashion brands and that the Black community and designers “need to take our equity back.”

IBJ’s Dave Lindquist had more about the event and the Indianapolis designers in a story last week.

Lesley Weidenbener

11:30 a.m., Friday

Video screens, giant silver basketball set up on Circle

Two giant video screens are flanking the NBA All-Star logo on Monument Circle. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

Workers continued to add more All-Star paraphernalia to Monument Circle, which is closed to traffic for the weekend.

Two large video screens are now flanking the 2024 NBA All-Star logo, where visitors were taking photos Friday morning.

The screens were installed Friday morning. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

At Hilbert Circle Theatre, a giant silver basketball with labeled with Hennessy will welcome visitors there for the spirits makers’ activation.

Hennessy, which has installed a basketball court that covers the stage and extends above main-floor seating, will host a brand experience from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday for fans 21 and older. The company will host a private event at 10 p.m. at what it’s dubbed Hennessy Arena.

A huge silver basketball will greet visitors to Hennessy’s brand events at Hilbert Circle Theatre. IB photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

10:30 p.m., Thursday

NBA Crossover ready to entertain fans throughout weekend

More than 40 NBA Sponsors have set up shop at the Indiana Convention Center for this year’s Crossover event, a record for the league’s flagship All-Star fan experience.

The companies range from soft drink Starry, to crypto company Coinbase, to the Jordan athletic brand and comprise at least 55 so-called activations—or dedicated spaces—across more than 250,000 square feet inside the southern portion of the Indiana Convention Center.

The space also includes a court for the NBA Rising Stars game on Sunday, more than one dozen half-basketball courts and around two-dozen pop-a-shot games. Just about every corporate installation provides some sort of entertainment or activity and opportunities to buy exclusive gear

Joe Graziano, NBA senior vice president and head of global event strategy, said the league is bullish on this year’s event, which is expected to draw more than 60,000 people over the next three days.

“The great part is we had partners who have never partnered with us at NBA Crossover—more than 10 marketing partners who are part of this for the first time—and I think it’s because they see the rabid fandom,” said Graziano. “They recognize that things are different in Indiana, Hoosiers are going to come out and represent.”

NBA Crossover on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

San Francisco-based Coinbase is among those using space at Crossover for the first time. The company, which provides users with a cryptocurrency wallet, has a space-themed basketball challenge that allows participants to test their shooting skills against a clock, with top performances winning prizes and special non-fungible tokens, or NFTs for their digital wallets.

“For us, the partnership in the sports space is something new and something where we’re ramping up our investments over time,” said Gary Sun, vice president of marketing for Coinbase. “This matches our broader advertising strategy from television, and now we want to get people closer to all the ins and outs of crypto.”

NBA Crossover is open to the public Friday from 2 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with three entry time periods throughout the afternoon. Tickets are $35 per adult and $20 per child.

Mickey Shuey

10 p.m., Thursday

Reggie Miller joins TNT broadcast at NBA Crossover

Reggie Miller was given a warm welcome in the halls of the Indiana Convention Center on Thursday night, as part of TNT’s Inside the NBA live broadcast celebrating the start of All-Star Weekend.

Miller, who spent 18 seasons—his entire career—with the Indiana Pacers, said he was thankful for his time with the franchise, especially given the then-controversial decision by general manager Donnie Walsh to draft Miller over Indiana son Steve Alford. Walsh has said he never considered Alford, but has acknowledged wanting Kevin Johnson, before he was first plucked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miller also recalled seeing countless fan-made signs showing him support during the Pacers’ playoff runs in the 1990s and early 2000s.

“Everyone was invested in us,” he said. “Yes, being in LA, Chicago, New York, those are bigger markets, but we’re in this together in a small market. That’s why I said we laughed and cried together—those signs, trust me people, I saw all of them and I loved them. … That’s why Indiana is different in terms of basketball.”

Miller is expected to participate in several events throughout All-Star weekend, including providing analysis commentary during All-Star Saturday Night and the All-Star Game itself. On Thursday, TNT announced Miller has agreed to a seven-year extension with the network, where he has worked for 19 years.

Mickey Shuey

9:30 p..m., Thursday

‘Tip-Off’ event offers lots of surprises

Oscar Sculpture vertcal
Rendering of Oscar Robertson statue. (Image provided by the NBA)

Indiana basketball kings Oscar Robertson and Larry Bird heard enthusiastic cheers when taking the stage at Thursday night’s NBA All-Star Weekend Tip-Off event at Bicentennial Unity Plaza north of Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon shared news that a statue of Robertson has been commissioned for installation at Crispus Attucks High School, where Robertson led the basketball team to two state championships in the 1950s. The team in 1955 became the first all-Black squad in the nation to win an open-class state championship.

The Tip-Off event, hosted by Indiana Fever great Tamika Catchings and hometown comedian and actor Mike Epps, featured more surprises when Indiana Pacers All-Star Tyrese Haliburton arrived in a two-seat IndyCar driven by Conor Daly and rapper-singer T-Pain closed the event by performing a medley of hit songs.

Once Haliburton made it to the stage, Bird greeted the popular point guard and handed him a basketball in a gesture suggestive of passing a torch.

Attendees Yasmeen Yerlett and Baleigh Tolksdorf said they enjoyed the Tip-Off, a first-time event on the NBA All-Star calendar.

“It was amazing,” Yerlett said. “You got your little drops of dopamine from the concert, the car and the crowd.”

“The energy was the perfect way to kickstart such a cool weekend,” Tolksdorf said.

T-Pain will stick around Indianapolis to perform Friday at the NBA Crossover fan event at the Indiana Convention Center.

6:20 p.m., Thursday

Volunteers head toward million meal goal

At 4 p.m Thursday, volunteers began their efforts to pack one million meals for food-insecure families within 24 hours.

More than 6,000 volunteers will work in 90-minute shifts at Lucas Oil Stadium packing meal pouches until Friday at 4 p.m.

It’s all part of a partnership between the Indianapolis-based Million Meals Movement, the Indiana Pacers and the NBA as part of the charitable events leading up to the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Nancy Hintz, who founded Million Meals in 2007, said it was gratifying to see so many volunteers sign up for the effort. She said all volunteer slots were filled within 15 minutes after the link to sign up was posted on the internet a few weeks ago.

“It’s super exciting that when you look out there you see all the different faces, all the different ages and walks of life and they’re all helping one another,” Hintz told IBJ.

Midwest Food Bank, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and Feeding America will distribute the meals to food banks in all 92 counties.

Two types of shelf-stable packages will be assembled: a rice and vegetable meal with soy protein, and macaroni and cheese.

Taylor Wooten

5:26 p.m., Thursday

Philanthropy shows All-Star Weekend about ‘more than just a basketball game’

Indiana Fever player Lexie Hull plays virtual Monopoly with teens in refurbished space at the Christamore House, 502 N. Tremont St. (IBJ photo/Taylor Wooten)

After looking around at the $250,000 in Christamore House improvements made possible by an NBA All-Star legacy project, Mayor Joe Hogsett made one big observation.

“This week is about more than just a basketball game,” Hogsett said, as he paid tribute to the donors who helped provide Christamore House youth with a refurbished basketball court, a new fitness center and a learning center for science, technology, engineering, art and math, or STEAM activities.

The improvements were unveiled Thursday as part of nearly a week of activities leading up to the NBA All-Star Game Sunday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The NBA contributed $100,000 for the project, while the host committee contributed $50,000 and Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon contributed $100,000.  At the unveiling Thursday, State Farm and Heart of America were also credited as being part of the collaboration.

Before the week’s festivities are over, the NBA estimates that it will distribute more than $3 million to Indianapolis-area charities.

Children in Christamore House’s program sat patiently as they heard from Hogsett and other speakers such as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Pacers’ minority owner Steve Simon and Gov. Eric Holcomb.

After the formalities were over, the kids ran off to play with virtual reality headsets with Pacers star Myles Turner and virtual Monopoly with Indiana Fever’s Lexie Hull.

Taylor Wooten

2:06 p.m., Thursday

All-Star warm-up jackets are highly personalized

In addition to bringing a retro component to Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, the collared, short-sleeve warm-up jackets will be highly personalized for each player.

Hallie Keselman, an NBA senior manager of events, equipment and team products, detailed ornamentation of the jackets during a Thursday media preview.

The back of each jacket will feature the player’s last name plus a patch showing the number of All-Star Games on his resume. Additional patches on sleeves will indicate if a player has won an All-Star Game MVP trophy or placed first in the dunk contest or 3-point shootout.

A flag representing the player’s home country will be displayed on the back of the jacket.

Keselman showed a U.S. flag on a Stephen Curry jacket and a Greek flag on a Giannis Antetokounmpo jacket. A record 125 international players appeared on opening-night NBA rosters when the 2023-24 season began. That number translates into 28% of the league.

The blue and red colors of the All-Star jerseys and warm-up jackets commemorate the game returning to a traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format after six years of lineup experimentation.

Keselman also revealed a bit of trivia about the 2021 pandemic-era All-Star Game played in Atlanta after Indianapolis’ turn to host the game shifted to 2024: The blue and gold uniforms used in the Atlanta game were nods to the Indiana Pacers.

Dave Lindquist

1:23 p.m., Thursday 

NBA provides a preview of its LED basketball court

The 3-point lines, free-throw lines and center court you’ll see during NBA All-Star Weekend basketball action at Lucas Oil Stadium aren’t actually part of a hardwood court.

Carlton Myers, the NBA’s head of live production and entertainment, shared a sneak peek Thursday of the LED glass surface being used for the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday and then the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night competitions.

“It’s basically a television screen that we’re playing basketball on,” Myers said.

Thursday’s preview for media members showcased the transition from the appearance of a conventional basketball court to giant animated stars. A crew member also demonstrated an on-person tracker that triggered a visible path when he walked across the surface.

Myers said graphics will be used to enhance on-court action. He explained that raised dots on the glass surface will provide traction for players in the celebrity game and NBA stars battling for the slam dunk and 3-point titles.

No previous NBA All-Star Weekend used an LED court.

“The technology advanced to the point where we feel comfortable enough to put our players and celebrities on the court,” Myers said.

LED panels provide the base for two layers of laminated safety glass, each five millimeters thick, the Associated Press reported earlier this month.

The court, developed by German company ASB GlassFloor, has been used in events by FIBA, basketball’s governing body. FIBA approved usage of LED glass flooring at top-tier competitions in 2022.

Dave Lindquist

11:43 a.m., Thursday

Hoosier Historia basketball sculptures installed on Monument Circle

Indianapolis-based Hand-N-Hand Transportation placed six fiberglass basketball sculptures around Monument Circle Thursday morning.

Indianapolis-based Hand-N-Hand Transportation placed six fiberglass basketball sculptures in the “Hoosier Historia” series around Monument Circle on Thursday morning. (IBJ photo/Taylor Wooten)

The sculptures, part of the “Hoosier Historia” project in a nod to Hoosier Hysteria and the basketball history they represent, were painted by local artists commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis. There are 24 total, with 23 within the Mile Square and one more at the Indianapolis Airport.

The statues weigh 110 pounds, organizer Julia Muney Moore told IBJ’s Mason King.  With the added sandbags in the base of the fixtures, they go up to 300.

The six-foot-tall basketballs feature painted tributes to notable Hoosier Hysteria-inspiring moments. Jourdain Brown painted the first sculpture installed Thursday morning, which illustrated the battle between New Castle and Seymour high schools to have the largest basketball courts in the nation.

The other five are:

The first Indiana Mr. Basketball is named, by Gary Gee, Indianapolis

“In 1939, George Crowe of Franklin High School became the very first Mr. Basketball in state history, so named by the Indy Star. Crowe was the younger brother of Ray Crowe, the legend who coached Crispus Attucks to consecutive state titles in the 1950s.”

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, by Christina Hollering, Zionsville

“This palace of Hoosier Hysteria is so much more than an incredible collection of memorabilia. It is the place where the nostalgia around Indiana’s game lives, recounted by the players, coaches, journalists, and historians who made this history what it is.”

The Milan Miracle, by Becky Hochhalter, Terre Haute

“In 1954, Milan was the smallest Indiana school ever to win a single-class state basketball title. The ‘Milan Miracle’ ultimately became one of the most recognizable sports tributes in Hollywood history through the film ‘Hoosiers.'”

Warsaw’s Judi Warren wins the first Ms. Basketball in 1976, by Tiffany Black, Indianapolis

“Prior to 1975, the Girls Athletic Association directed girls’ sports in Indiana, but not all schools participated. That changed in 1976; ever since then, Hoosier Hysteria has been as much a girls basketball phenomenon as it was for boys.”

The Indiana-Kentucky High School Basketball all-star series, by Ashley Nora, Indianapolis

“Basketball rivalry runs deep between these two states, which each claim ownership over the sport. The Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Series is a two-game annual series that began in 1940 (boys) and 1976 (girls) and features each state’s best boys’ and girls’ players.”

Taylor Wooten

11:37 p.m., Wednesday

Non-NBA athletes deliver hoops highlights at Hinkle

Non-NBA stars entertained with dunk contest at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Wednesday night. (IBJ photo/Mickey Shuey)

Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Sheldon Day presented a hometown basketball show Wednesday night at Butler University’s Hinkle Fieldhouse. Day, a Warren Central High School and University of Notre Dame alum, told attendees that the “Hoops & Icons” event was designed to provide an affordable glimpse of star power during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Most tickets were priced at $10, and the event featured non-NBA athletes competing in a dunk contest, three-point shootout, 3-on-3 tournament and other on-court challenges. NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens likely was the lone household name at the event, but TikTok restaurant critic Keith Lee attracted the most attention from fans.

After the event, Michigan native Lee told the IBJ he briefly attended Indiana Tech in Fort Wayne on a wrestling scholarship before he became a professional MMA fighter.

Lee, who has more than 15 million TikTok followers, said there’s no gimmick behind his online success as a restaurant critic.

“I’m just myself,” he said. “I turn on the camera and allow things to happen the way they’re supposed to. I pray before I do anything, and I’m just me.”

Tyasha Harris, a Heritage Christian High School alum who plays for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, won the women’s 3-point shootout at “Hoops & Icons.”

“It’s always great to come back home, put on an event and see everybody I grew up with,” Harris said.

Former Harlem Globetrotter Doug Anderson won the night’s slam dunk contest.

Dave Lindquist

8:05 p.m., Wednesday

Hennessy’s NBA spirit to take over Hilbert Circle Theatre

Workers add signage Wednedsay to Hilbert Circle Theatre, 45 Monument Circle, which will be known as “Hennessy Arena” during NBA All-Star Weekend. (IBJ photo/Lesley Weidenbener)

“Treading the boards” will mean something new at Hilbert Circle Theatre during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Hennessy, the spirits maker known for its cognac, is installing a basketball court that covers the stage and extends above main-floor seating at the 108-year-old Monument Circle venue that initially was home to vaudeville performances.

Crew members worked inside and outside the theater on Wednesday—even rolling a portable hoop and backboard through an alley—preparing the venue for a public event during the day Saturday and a private event that night.

Attendees 21 and older can visit the brand experience billed as “Hennessy Arena” from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Guests will have the opportunity to take shots on the court and purchase alcohol and soft drinks at the theater’s Encore Lounge bar.

Hennessy Arena will host a private event at 10 p.m.

Hilbert Circle Theatre has been home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra since 1984.

When Indianapolis hosted the Super Bowl in 2012, NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” made episodes at Hilbert Circle Theatre.

Dave Lindquist

3:15 p.m., Wednesday

VP Kamala Harris’ husband to visit Indy for All-Star Weekend

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, will be in Indianapolis for All-Star Weekend.

Emhoff plans to attend Saturday’s “Her Time to Play” activation, which will be at the Indiana Convention Center from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is full. Her Time To Play is the WNBA’s initiative dedicated to providing girls with opportunities to learn, play and love the game of basketball regardless of skill level. Sports journalist Arielle Chambers will host a Q&A with Emhoff at the activation, an NBA spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Doug Emhoff (Photo courtesy of

The Her Time To Play activation will also include a vision board workshop that Emhoff will take part in, a basketball clinic focused on the fundamentals of the game, and a panel discussion with WNBA players aimed to help girls gain confidence, face challenges, and learn the importance of physical and mental wellness.

Emhoff has been involved in several female empowerment initiatives. As the first second gentleman to the country’s first female vice president, Emhoff has met with gender ministers in both Japan and France and has hosted roundtable discussions with women and young girls around the world to discuss the importance of equity in the workplace, equal pay, and protecting reproductive rights and health care, according to The White House.

Taylor Wooten

12:14 p.m., Wednesday

Fans can win $75,000 in Starry 3-pointer contests

The Starry installation at the Indiana Convention Center will offer fans an opportunity to win cash prizes in 3-pointer contests. (Photo courtesy of NBA)

Basketball fans who want to test their 3-point shooting prowess can win cash prizes at the NBA Crossover fan experience at the Indiana Convention Center.

Contests will be held Friday through Sunday on an LED court at the Starry Ar3na, where the soda brand will give away $75,000 over three days.

A fan who makes the most 3-pointers in 33 seconds can win $25,000 each day, along with “Team Lem” and “Team Lime” swag featuring the brand’s mascots.

Starry, a lemon-lime drink distributed by PepsiCo, is the sponsor of the NBA’s official 3-point contest that will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

At 400,000 square feet, NBA Crossover will take up about half of the convention center’s exhibition spaces when combined with other areas reserved for temporary NBA administrative offices.

The space will offer a variety of games, sports gear retail shops, meet-and-greet opportunities with current NBA stars and legends and provide some live games on a full-size regulation court between some of the NBA’s best developmental league players.

Learn more about what else will be available at Crossover.

Daniel Bradley

11:20 a.m., Wednesday 

Basketball sculptures roll into place across downtown

This basketball sculpture celebrates Crispus Attucks High School. (IBJ photo/Samm Quinn)

Some of the 6-foot basketball sculptures depicting the state’s high school hoops history began rolling into place Wednesday morning for NBA All-Star Weekend.

The first one spotted by IBJ’s staff took its post at Washington and Meridian streets. It celebrates Oscar Robertson and the historic 1955 Crispus Attucks High School team, which become the first all-Black squad in the nation to win an open state tournament.

In all, 24 of the of the giant fiberglass basketballs painted by local artists will be placed across downtown. The project, dubbed Hoosier Historia, uses each basketball to tell a different chapter in Hoosier hoops history.

To learn more about the project and see a map of where all of the basketball sculptures will be located, click here.

Greg Weaver

6:15 a.m., Wednesday

Curry Brand to offer arcade experience at Circle Centre

A rendering of Curry’s Gameroom (Image courtesy of Under Armour)

Under Armour and its Curry Brand offshoot will offer an old-school arcade experience at its retail pop-up store in Circle Centre Mall.

The store, dubbed Curry’s Gameroom, will be on the mall’s second floor in the former Victoria’s Secret space and will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, spokeswoman Elle Hagedorn said in an email.

Visitors will be able to play classic arcade games, win prizes and purchase the new Curry Jam shoe collection and matching apparel, which will make its debut during All-Star Weekend.

The store also will showcase Under Armour’s new Futr x Elite basketball shoes.

This shoe is part of the new Curry Jam collection. (Photo courtesy of Under Armour and Curry Brand)

Curry Brand is an extension of Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry’s partnership with Under Armour.

Curry is the president of the brand, and it has committed to donating $1,000 for every point scored during the All-Star Game to support the middle school basketball programs at Indianapolis Public Schools.

The brand also is working with the Positive Coaching Alliance and Good Sports to provide training for all IPS coaches throughout the next year.

Greg Weaver

1:10 p.m., Tuesday

Peyton Manning exits role at celebrity game

Peyton Manning (IBJ file photo)

The NBA confirmed Tuesday that former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won’t be part of NBA All-Star Celebrity Game festivities as originally planned.

Manning was announced Feb. 7 as an assistant coach for one of the teams assembled for Friday’s celebrity game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The NBA provided no additional information related to NFL Hall of Famer’s exit from the role.

Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A. Smith, co-hosts of ESPN’s “First Take” show, will serve as the game’s head coaches. Manning was announced as one of Sharpe’s assistants, along with rapper 50 Cent. Smith’s assistant coaches are rapper Lil Wayne and two-time WNBA champion A’ja Wilson.

Earlier this month, Manning served as head coach of the AFC team at the NFL Pro Bowl Games in Orlando, Florida.

Dave Lindquist

12:30 p.m., Tuesday

Public-safety text line set up for All-Star Weekend

Marion County officials have launched a mass notification text line for All-Star Weekend to disperse important public safety information, including areas to avoid, changes in downtown traffic or pedestrian patterns, and emergency information.

The text line from the Marion County Emergency Management Agency can be accessed by texting NBAALLSTAR2024 to 67283.

After the event has concluded, the phone numbers of anyone signed up to receive texts will be purged, according to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Chris Bailey.

“Those registered for that number will be cleared from the system,” he said during a news conference on Monday. “So you won’t get spam text messages to purchase something cool, like a sandwich.”

Mickey Shuey

11:09 a.m., Tuesday

Immerse yourself in a giant bag of Cheetos or Puma sneakers. Or both.

Cheetos Scoot Zeros shoes from Puma (Photo courtesy of Puma)

Do sneakers and Cheetos go together?

They do for Puma, which is releasing a Cheetos’ themed shoe at a pop-up retail and entertainment store in the former Carson’s department store space at Circle Centre Mall during All-Star Weekend.

The site will be open from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and will offer a variety of orange snack-flavored activities, which will allow visitors to immerse themselves in a giant 3-D bag of Cheetos and navigate a Cheetos maze.

The site also will offer a hoops court, giveaways and prizes. Oh, and you can also check out the new Puma Scoots Zeros Cheetos shoe as well was the Puma Porsche collection featuring LaMelo Ball’s MB.03 Porsche shoe.

Also cruising through Indy over the weekend will be the Puma Hoops Dunk Show that will travel from site to site in a Hoopsbus and be escorted by a 1970s Porsche 930 Turbo loaded with basketballs and giveaways.

Greg Weaver

10:50 a.m., Tuesday

Attractions on Monument Circle beginning to take shape

Work has started on transforming Monument Circle into a multimedia performance space, allowing it to serve as what the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee has dubbed “Indy’s Home Court.”

Crews were assembling a signature sign Tuesday morning at the southern spoke of the Circle that reads “NBA All-Star Indy 2024.” About 18 feet tall, it was being mounted on a stage so it would face to the south.

The southern portion and spoke of Monument Circle will be closed to vehicular traffic.

The Circle will host several light-based art exhibitions through All-Star Weekend, which wraps up late Sunday. DJs will provide music at various times.

More details about downtown events for All-Star Weekend are available here.

9 a.m., Tuesday

Foot Locker, sneaker brands setting up retail space at former Carson’s store

Foot Locker is temporarily taking over the former Carson Pirie Scott space in Circle Centre Mall. (IBJ photo/Mason King)

The former Carson’s department store space at Circle Centre Mall will be temporarily occupied by several companies this week as one of several downtown retail and entertainment activations connected to the NBA All-Star Game.

New York City-based Foot Locker has leased the 50,000-square-foot first floor of the building at 1 W. Washington St. to house numerous activities, including an interactive LED half-court, retail space, basketball clinics, footwear customization stations and athlete appearances, a company representative said.

The space, which will open to the public Friday, will be known as Home Court and is one of several pop-up spaces planned for Circle Centre throughout the weekend—and by far the largest.

The location will include extensive retail space offering new products from Nike, Jordan Brand, Puma, Under Armour, Adidas and other top athletic wear brands. It will also offer styling sessions through a collaboration between Converse and Oklahoma City Thunder player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as well as a panel discussion with local youth hosted by Our Mothers Inc. and Wanda Durant, the mother of NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

Mickey Shuey

6:30 a.m., Tuesday

New video art installation bounces into action

NBA All-Star Weekend organizers turned on the lights for “Rebounding Reflections” Monday night, providing an early look at a video installation commissioned by the Indy Arts Council.

Created by Bloomington-based Blockhouse Studios, “Rebounding Reflections” is projected on the south and east sides of the nine-story H. P. Wasson & Company Building at the northwest corner of the intersection of Washington and Meridian streets.

The video projection features images of basketballs rising and falling fluidly in vertical columns, flanked by colorful geometric shapes suggestive of flippers in an Art Deco pinball machine. The installation’s Art Deco motif fits the 87-year-old Wasson structure, a limestone building accented by vertical stripes of glass block windows.

Two other All-Star Weekend video projections are planned for downtown buildings: “Secret Worlds on South Meridian Street” by Australian artist Wendy Yu in collaboration with Blockhouse Studios at 141 S. Meridian St.; and a special edition of Downtown Indy Inc.’s “Shining a Light” projection show on Monument Circle.

Dave Lindquist

11 p.m., Monday

Watch out for ticket scams

Concert promoter Raleigh Harper said he deletes comments daily on his Facebook posts devoted to NBA All-Star Weekend performances at Broad Ripple’s Vogue music venue.

Harper’s company, Carter Creative Group, is bringing rappers 2 Chainz and Boosie as well as R&B singer Tank to the Vogue for events Friday through Sunday.

He wants people to talk about the events, of course, but he doesn’t want scam artists tempting potential customers with offers that are too good to be true.

“They will say, ‘I have tickets for sale,’” Harper said. “They will tell you, ‘I have two tickets, send over the money.’ But they never send you any ticket.”

NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis is expected to attract basketball fans, music fans and more than its share of people attempting to trick those fans.

“Scammers go where the money is,” said Scott Barnhart, chief counsel and director of consumer protection for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. NBA All-Star Weekend “has a way of attracting attention from folks who are just looking to pull one over on somebody. Don’t think there isn’t an avenue where a scammer might try to take advantage of you,” Barnhart said.

Learn more about how to avoid ticket scams.

12:55 p.m., Monday

Drones part of IMPD’s security plan downtown

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department plans to take to the skies this week to keep tabs on public safety, deploying drones throughout NBA All-Star.

The drones, will be part of a multifaceted approach the department takes to monitor activity downtown, which also includes access to external cameras at Gainbridge Fieldhouse and dozens of businesses downtown through the city’s B-link program. It is not clear how many drones will be in use, or whether state and federal agencies will be deploying their own devices, as well.

“Fans may see IMPD and public safety drones in the air,” said acting Police Chief Chris Bailey. “This gives us another viewpoint to monitor crowds and allows us to have a good understanding of traffic in case we need to move our resources to make sure traffic is moving quickly.”

The city also expects a blanket Temporary Flight Restriction, or TFR, to be put into place over downtown during the weekend. That restriction would make it illegal for individuals or media outlets to pilot drones within a certain area—likely over Lucas Oil Stadium and Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Bailey said IMPD is asking the public not to fly drones downtown during the weekend, adding it will “have mitigation teams out and we will address all illegal flying drones in the area.”

Mickey Shuey

10:55 a.m., Monday

Lids, St. Elmo team up for tasty sports gear

A downtown pop-up store will be offering special NBA All-Star gear featuring St. Elmo Steak House. (Photo courtesy of Lids)

Special edition hats and sports gear featuring famous elements from Indy’s iconic St. Elmo Steak House will be available throughout All-Star Weekend at a special pop-up store powered by Indianapolis-based Lids.

The store at 50 S. Meridian St. will offer fitted and snapback hats, coach’s and bomber jackets, shorts, jerseys and hoodies all with the NBA All-Star logo, plus some iconic representation of St. Elmo, such as its neon sign, famous shrimp cocktail and more.

“What makes this collaboration so special is two iconic Indianapolis organizations joining forces to celebrate this historic event for our city,”  Craig Huse,co-proprietor of St. Elmo Steak House, said in written remarks. “We are excited to capture our sense of community pride and share it with Hoosiers and visitors alike.”

Store hours will be noon to 9 p.m. on Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 19. Cost of the merchandise will range from $39.99 to $220.

Greg Weaver

10:15 a.m., Monday

Lots of celebs, execs headed to Indy on private jets

More than 100 private jets are expected to fly into Indianapolis International Airport this weekend for NBA All-Star Game-related festivities.

The planes, carrying business executives, media, celebrities, professional athletes and others, will be among hundreds of other aircraft set to land at the airport during the weekend, Indianapolis Airport Authority officials said.

The officials said they do not yet have an estimate for how many commercial flights will land at the airport and how many passengers those planes will carry. Unlike the Super Bowl in Indianapolis in 2012, the NBA event has not prompted airlines to add more flights or charters specifically for the event.

Marc Ganis, owner of Chicago-based sports consultancy Sportscorp Ltd, said most professional athletes tend to fly on private jets when going to an event like the NBA All-Star Game. Leaders from the league’s sponsors and representatives of television networks also tend to travel to such events privately.

Up to 1,800 media members will travel to Indianapolis for the weekend, with most either driving or flying commercial.

Mickey Shuey

9:05 a.m., Monday

Monument Circle, other downtown sites will be lit with DJs, illuminated art installations

Downtown Indianapolis public spaces at Monument Circle and Georgia Street will see an NBA All-Star Weekend revamp complete with DJ booths, art installations, basketball hoops and plenty of photo opportunities.

The southern portion and spoke of Monument Circle will be closed to vehicular traffic Thursday through Sunday, allowing it to serve as what the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee has named “Indy’s Home Court.” The public-space activations are part of an effort to bring more attractions to local residents in addition to visitors.

“We really wanted to extend the NBA experience from the inside out,” Ebony Armstrong, director of events, activations and venues, told IBJ.

The weekend plan includes plenty of music: Four DJ booths will be set up, with one at Monument Circle, one at Bicentennial Unity Plaza and two on Georgia Street. DJ appearances will take place at various times starting at 11 a.m. and lasting into the night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Public art installations will be on display at various downtown locations starting Thursday at 11 a.m., with light-based art and projection events running from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A special NBA All-Star edition of Downtown Indy Inc.’s Shining a Light projection show on Monument Circle will be shown repeatedly beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday. See what other art installations are on tap.

Taylor Wooten

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4 thoughts on “All-Star updates: Viewer ratings surged for All-Star Saturday Night events | Lil Wayne provides energetic finale for NBA concerts

  1. Indy is one of the most underrated cities in the country. There’s always room for improvement but Indy is good at taking what they have to work with as a city and make it into some thing special. Event planners always make the city seem bigger than what it is and that takes skills and creativity. The city just comes together and works

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