The All-Star break is just that — a break — for most around the NBA, but for a select group of players and team employees, it can be as busy a time during the season as ever.
This season, point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was selected to represent the Clippers as a member of the World Team in the NBA’s annual showcase of its top young talent, the MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars game. In addition to the rookie, the team sent two members of their digital content team to follow Gilgeous-Alexander’s first All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
In partnership with OGIO, the LA Clippers’ supplier of high-performance travel gear, we’re showing you what it’s like to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend.
Fresh off the red-eye from Los Angeles, Director of Social Media Alessandro Gasparro takes a moment to map out the plan of attack for the rest of the day. The content team will be on the ground in Charlotte for barely 48 hours, but between shoots, practice, media sessions, and the game itself, every minute counts.
The rookie gets his first taste of All-Star weekend at the NBA Entertainment circuit. Here, he cycles through a series of photo and video shoots with the league and its partners, including Twitter and Turner.
Pictured on set for @NBAKicks (the league’s sneaker-focused vertical) Gilgeous-Alexander is asked to sign the wall with a phrase that holds personal significance. He chooses, “Be great.”
Gilgeous-Alexander’s Friday schedule is packed. It starts with media availability at 9:30 a.m., followed by the NBA Cares Day of Service, and then down to the court for practice — all before noon. After practice, he’ll head back to the hotel for more media — including an interview with Clippers Digital on the ride back — before bussing to the Spectrum Center for the Rising Stars game.
Video producer Andre Robinson is a rookie in his own right. He joined the Clippers in prior to the 2018-19 season and this is his first All-Star Weekend. With media swarming at each event, Robinson quickly learned that he needs to be aggressive to make sure he got all his shots. “Find the moment, capture the moment,” he says.
Gilgeous-Alexander shares a laugh with fellow rookie DeAndre Ayton during the NBA Cares Day of Service. The two have known each other since their days as Basketball Without Borders campers. “We’ve always been on the “World” side of things, for [Nike] Hoop Summit and other events like that,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I’ve played with him multiple times and he’s a good dude, a fun dude to be around.”
While the rook is preparing for the game, Clippers play-by-play announcer Ralph Lawler is honored with the 2019 Curt Gowdy Media Award. As a recipient of the award, the Voice of the Clippers will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this September, the ultimate honor to culminate his 40-year tenure with the club.
NBA legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Artris Gilmore, and Rick Barry (pictured) were among those in attendance to celebrate the next class of Hall of Famers. “What really stuck me when I was up there on the stage was I turned around and all those Hall of Fame players who were seated behind me, I broadcasted their games at one point or another,” Lawler said. “To review that and stand there on that stage with those great Hall of Famers made a special moment even more special.”
Despite being the lone Canadian on this year’s World squad, Gilgeous-Alexander is part of a national program that is one the rise. As someone who grew up watching Steve Nash, Rowan Barrett, and others, the rookie understands the impact he can make on the next generation of Canadian ballers. “I just want to be an example for kids back home,” he says.
Gilgeous-Alexander holds his own in his Rising Stars debut, tallying 15 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. Following the game, he described All-Star Weekend as “an experience I’ll never forget.”
As Gilgeous-Alexander’s night is coming to an end, Robinson kicks into high gear, cutting a recap to share on the Clippers’ social media channels just minutes following the conclusion of the game.
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