NBA fans in Cleveland treated a Saturday morning as prime time during NBA All-Star practice at the Wolstein Center.
NBA tops including LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen prepared for Sunday’s big All-Star Game in front of a live audience at Wolstein Center.
LeBron James at All-Star Team practice at the Wolstein Center on Saturday. /Ideastream Public Media]
Although this was the official practice for the All-Star Game, it was also an opportunity for fans to see the players in action without the high price tag of events at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Some tickets for Saturday night and Sunday games in the largest venue have sold for thousands of dollars each.
NBA legend Bill Walton and Cleveland trooper Darius Garland played trivia games for the Wolstein Center crowd. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
Keegan Khan of Clearwater, Florida is one of the lucky ones who not only attended practice, but also has tickets to the rest of the All-Star Weekend events at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
“First time in Ohio. First time in Cleveland. We’ve had a great time so far,” Khan said. the penalty.”
This All-Star trip was a Valentine’s Day gift from Crystal Resto (left) to Keegan Khan (right). [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
The trip to Cleveland and the All-Star events were a Valentine’s Day gift to Khan from his partner, Crystal Resto.
“I’ve had a few gifts before that were great, but this one, it doesn’t even compare,” Khan said.
Sisters Tarah and Aya Aziz came to Cleveland for the whole weekend from Detroit.
“Really proud of Cleveland for putting it all together. It’s really inspiring. We don’t hear a lot about Ohio from a Detroiter perspective,” Aya said. “Glory. Major congratulations.
Sisters Tarah and Aya Aziz plan to attend every NBA event possible during All-Star weekend. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
Tarah isn’t as big of a basketball fan as her sister, but she still felt it was worth it.
“The whole experience was definitely worth it. The three hour drive is definitely worth it,” said Tarah.
Roosevelt White Jr. traveled for the weekend from Chicago with his son Jason.
Jason said he was very excited for Friday night’s Rising Stars tournament because Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu played in the tournament and they all attend the same church in Chicago.
Roosevelt White Jr. and his son Jason are Bulls fans visiting Cleveland from Chicago. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
“We were baptized on the same day,” Jason said.
The Wolstein Center was also the site of a special NBA game between two historically black colleges or universities or HBCUs – Howard University and Morgan State University.
The two teams are separated by only 45 miles in the Maryland/Washington DC area and are rivals. It was the first HBCU Classic game in the NBA All-Star lineup and was added to recognize the efforts of HBCU athletes and communities.
The Howard University Bison defeated the Morgan State University Bears 68-66 in Saturday’s HBCU Classic game. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
Roosevelt and Jason were also excited about the HBCU game because Jason attended a STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) education summer program for elementary students at Howard.
“So coming full circle by being able to see them here,” Roosevelt said.
Reigning NBA Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo signs an autograph. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
Not everyone has tickets to the weekend’s events, whether at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse or Wolstein Center.
Jordan and Devon King found seats at City Tap, a bar across from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, to soak up the All-Star atmosphere downtown.
The King just moved to Cleveland two weeks ago from St. Louis.
“He feels alive. Last weekend it was super cold and snowy and no one was out, but everyone is braving the elements to get out there and have a good time and show the celebrities Cleveland,” Jordan King said.
Jordan and Devon King are new residents of downtown Cleveland. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
“It’s really impressive how many people come from different cultures. You can see how the Cleveland fans show up,” Devon King said.
NBA All-Star Saturday night ended with a skills challenge, three-point contest and slam dunk contest.
“Team Cavs,” which included three Cleveland Cavaliers — Allen, Garland and Evan Mobley — won the skills challenge.
From left to right: Garland, Mobley and Allen. [Gabriel Kramer / Ideastream Public Media]
“He’s our rookie of the year,” Garland said of Cavs rookie Mobley.
“I agree,” Allen said.
The NBA All-Star Game begins at 8 p.m. Sunday at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.