Community outreach is key to All-Star effort for Stowers

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Greg Stowers Jr., who is volunteering with the All-Star Host Committee, said playing basketball in his youth taught him lessons about team building he still calls on today. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

While his hoop dreams ended early, basketball has continued to play a major role in Greg Stowers Jr.’s life.

He recalls playing pickup basketball at the Jewish Community Center with kids his age who would go on to play in the NBA: Mike Conley, Eric Gordon, George Hill and Greg Oden. He watched his younger brother, Wesley, become Marian University’s all-time leader in points and assists.

Stowers did not make the boys basketball team at North Central High School, but he said the game taught him lessons about character development and team building that he uses today in his role as chief administrative officer and policy director for the Indianapolis City-County Council.

Stowers, an Indiana State University graduate, oversees day-to-day operations of the council office and provides policy strategy and analysis to all 25 city councilors.

“We had a little run from the standpoint of people I grew up with that ended up in the pros,” he said. “But I took the leadership route, and now I’m right in the middle of city government, so things have a way of working out.”

Stowers is co-chair of the community engagement committee for the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee. His committee received 2,400 tickets for All-Star Saturday Night that will go to more than 100 organizations statewide.

“I think it’s pretty exciting when we think about the generational impact of the All-Star Game from not only an economic development standpoint, but also just a storytelling standpoint, too,” he said.

The storytelling standpoint extends to his committee’s “Love Letter to Basketball” campaign, which will place 8,000 letters written by Hoosiers in hotel rooms around downtown. (The online form to submit letters is now closed.)

“For instance, Charles Barkley is going to get to his hotel, and there’ll be a letter written by potentially some high school kid who loves basketball, telling him why he loves basketball,” Stowers said.

He said he expects the next five years will be transformational for Indianapolis, and the NBA All-Star Game will play a major role in that.

“I will stand on it all day that this entire exercise over the past year-and-a-half of planning that I’ve been a part of is really people-focused,” he said. “And I think that’s just an incredible, incredible opportunity for our city.”•

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