Balling for the Culture: NBA All-Star Weekend Honors Black History Month
BY: ALEXIS FOSTER
The 2018 NBA All-Star game broke tradition this year, with Lebron James and Stephen Curry drafting and leading opposing teams. But aside from this game changer, All-Star Weekend remained a time of celebration and history-making, not only for the league but for the Black community.
This year’s All-Star Weekend was one for the books. Migos rapper Quavo led his team to victory in the Celebrity All-Star Game. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker broke records in the three-point contest. Lebron James was titled All-Star MVP for the third time.
These victories showcase excellence within the NBA, but the weekend was about more than competition and athleticism. Players, performers and hosts also reinforced the greater pursuit of fighting for equality and inclusion within the league and in the Black community.
Common and Andra day performed “Stand Up for Something” on All-Star Saturday night in tribute to Black history and the NBA Voice’s initiative. NBA and WNBA players spoke empowering words during the performance and honored basketball legends and civil rights activists, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell.
“This is the best weekend in the NBA,” said James at an All-Star press conference. He discussed the importance of giving athletes the opportunity to speak out on social injustice. His comments followed Fox News reporter Laura Ingraham’s targeted words, “shut up and dribble.”
Three-time NBA champion, James sported his All-Star pregame sneakers, with the words, “More Than An Athlete” printed on one side.
James isn’t the only NBA athlete to sport sneakers with a message. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant also released Black History Month signature sneakers in the Nike Equality Collection.
Players also expressed their support by giving back to marginalized communities. The All-Star Game supports charities of the players’ choice. The NBA donated $500,000 to Brotherhood Crusade and After-School All-Stars of Los Angeles, programs that both serve low-income, underserved individuals.
Celebrities brought even more #BlackExcellence to the weekend. Every year notable artists sit courtside and participate in halftime performances. Beyonce, Common and Chance the Rapper were spotted at Sunday’s game. Black Panther stars Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman also made All-Star weekend appearances, the same weekend their Marvel film was released broke box office records.
Black people won on and off the court All-Star Weekend.
Feature photo by chelsea ferenando