The celebrity spotting started on the plane.
We stepped on our flight to Atlanta Thursday morning,
and bingo, there was Ed Lover. Since helping to
introduce mainstream America to rap in 1988 as one of
the original hosts of Yo! MTV Raps, Lover has been all
over the place -- from the Daily Show to the movie
Ride -- and now he seems to be everywhere we go. In just
a few hours, we spotted Ed and his little posse on the
plane, at the baggage claim, on the rental car bus, at
the hotel check-in, in the elevator (twice) and again
in the lobby in the evening.
He wasn't the only celebrity around. Jamie Bogner, an
Inside Stuff staffer, started spelling his last name
to the hotel desk clerk at check-in, and after he
spelled B-O-G the clerk asked "Muggsy Bogues?"
Meanwhile, in a mix-up, Editor Tony Gervino was handed
a package for superstar singer Gloria "I Will
We had to look no further than the lobby to get a
sense of what was happening. Bill Russell and his wife
passed some time on a lobby couch near where Ice Cube
would sit watching the Lakers nudge the Knicks on a TV
a few hours later. Pint-sized Atlanta music mogul
Jermaine Dupri passed through with some friends on his
way to a party.
Jermaine was wearing a nice coat, which he needed
because the weather here is a little colder and
rainier than a lot of people expected, but no one from
the Northeast is complaining. Not only is it much
warmer in Georgia than it has been up North, but it's
also, thankfully, not buried in snow. It'll be
interesting to see if the overnight weather in the New
York area keeps planes on the ground. There were tons
of people planning to make it from the Big Apple and
other places last night and today -- including Shaquille
O'Neal and Kobe Bryant -- who could have their travel
plans interrupted. We'll keep you posted.
Ivy is hosting one of the many parties in Atlanta this weekend.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant
With or without the Lakers' stars, Atlanta is loaded
with celebrities, right now -- and people in general.
One of the local papers pointed out that between the
All-Star game, a flower show, and a rodeo event, there
are 120,000 extra people expected in the home city of
the Hawks. The traffic is bumper-to-bumper in places
all over the city.
A lot of that traffic is around Jam Session -- the
massive interactive basketball experience that is
taking place right next to the famous Centennial Park.
A lot of other traffic, especially all those stretch
hummers and limos, is headed to parties, because when
it comes to parties, it's hard to know what to say
other than, yeah, we got 'em. At last count there
were over 40 events hosted by players or celebrities
in Atlanta this weekend. Hawks legend Dominique
Wilkins is hosting three all by himself. Magic
Johnson, Tracy McGrady, Charles Oakley -- there's a
party for just about anyone here. Some of them are
open to the public for a fee, others are
super-secretive, with the location hidden even from
invitees, who will be driven there from pre-arranged
locations. Some of the higher-profile gigs include
Michael Jordan's wing-ding at a club called Vision,
Dominique's party at Eleven50, and Allen Iverson's
event at Club 112.
If you wanted to do it all, you'd have to be in 50
places at once -- and the crazy thing is the weekend has
barely even begun.