Feb 20, 2024 - News

The good, the bad and the funny from NBA All-Star Weekend

Three basketball players on a court holding trophies.

Myles Turner, Bennedict Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton celebrate winning the 2024 Kia Skills Challenge during the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It's been a wild weekend, and the 2024 NBA All-Star Game is in the books.

  • T-Pain made a surprise appearance. So did snow. Two people dunked over Shaq, plus Mac McClung dunked over two people.
  • And the Eastern Conference put up 211 points, setting a new scoring record in its All-Star game victory.

Here are the other highs and lows as Indianapolis returns to standard programming:

Good:

⭐ Hometown stars shining

  • The Team Pacers trio dominated the Saturday night Kia Skills Challenge, the Pacers' Benedict Mathurin was named MVP of the Rising Stars game and Tyrese Haliburton put on a show during Sunday night's All-Star game.
  • Local legend Babyface wowed with his acoustic guitar performance of the National Anthem before Sunday's game.

💡 The LED court (mostly)

  • It was the first time a fully LED court was used by the NBA and fans, generally, loved it.
  • It was deployed for the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.
  • Yes, but: When WNBA player Jewell Lloyd, who participated in the celeb game, was asked if there's a difference between a normal wood floor and the LED she said, "Oh, there's a difference. There's nothing like a nice wood floor, but [shrug] it's cool for fans."
  • 💭 Our thought bubble: It was fun for the non-serious events and was put to especially good use during the AT&T Slam Dunk contest but we're not sure about it for regular game play.

ğŸŽµ T-Pain

  • It started with his free surprise show that kicked off the weekend, complete with so much pyro that we're pretty sure it increased the temperature in Bicentennial Unity Plaza by at least a couple degrees.
  • It continued when he thrilled fans with a full-length show Friday night.

🤌 The details

  • Indy's reign as the host city with the mostest (ice sculptures!) continued as glowing reviews poured in from around the league and elsewhere.
  • Big events were well-planned, plus thoughtful touches put our Hoosier hospitality — like the volunteers stationed at each photo opp, happily waiting to snap your pic — and hoops history on constant display.
  • See: The Oscar Roberston statue going up at Crispus Attucks High School.

🤗 Something for everyone

  • Art lovers were in for a treat, from BUTTER's fine art show to the explosion of art downtown that had street corners looking cooler than ever.
  • Gamers united to have a blast at the inaugural NBA 2K All-Star tournament.
  • Thanks to a plethora of pop-ups, Circle Centre Mall was crowded and storefronts were filled for what had to be the first time in years. Even if it was only temporary, it was nice to see.

⛹️‍♀️ WNBA inclusion

  • We loved seeing the WNBA included at the NBA Crossover in the Indiana Convention Center, on the celebrity game teams and in the NBA All-Star Saturday Night event.
  • Can we please just make Steph vs. Sabrina an annual thing?

Bad:

🫶 Tyrese Haliburton being MVP of our hearts (but not the All-Star Game)

  • He was the people's champ all weekend, knocked down his first five 3s in something like 90 seconds in the All-Star Game, and he deserved the MVP nod.

❄️ The weather

  • After a stretch of unseasonably nice weather, of course our biggest snow of the season would land on All-Star Weekend.
  • While folks were out shoveling sidewalks around the event spaces on Friday, the few roads open downtown were a mess for crowds leaving that night's events.
  • State police said there were at least 111 Indy area crashes Friday night.
  • Plus: The stairs coming out of the celeb game at Lucas Oil were total ice slicks — scary to walk down, tbh.

⁉️ Crowd control at the Convention Center for Crossover

  • With no one directing people and no clear designation for where the line should be, trying to find the end of the very long winding line to get into Crossover quickly became a mess.
  • It took us over an hour to get in on Saturday afternoon — and that was with timed tickets.

ğŸ”Ž Where's Peyton?

  • Peyton Manning just being like, "nah tho," after being advertised as a celeb game coach was a disappointment. His loss.

Funny:

🤓 Lil Wayne's observations

  • 50 Cent and Weezy were coaches for the celebrity game and ESPN made the brilliant call of having them bantering with the commentators through headsets from their respective benches.
  • It was more entertaining than the game, especially when Tunechi was tripped up by the LED court saying, "I'm trying to figure out how they're going to play if the court keep moving."

😯 Giannis surprising himself

🤣 Mike Epps vs. the teleprompter

  • It was a man and machine battle during tipoff, and we're not sure who won, but it was a good time all the same.

🤯 Trae Young dribbling between KD's legs

  • KD just always looks annoyed so his face made it a top-notch moment.

🧀 The 3D larger-than-life Cheetos bag at the PUMA x Cheetos Interactive Experience was … interesting.

  • If you saw it, you understand.

⛹️ Ball is life

  • If you ever wanted to shoot a basketball, this weekend offered you roughly a thousand opportunities. Everywhere we looked, there were basketball hoops for the public.

👾 The moment it became crystal clear why police were so adamant about not bringing your own drones downtown over the weekend. That drone light show was something else.

🐶 Butler Blue burning the one person with something bad to say about our city this weekend.

🤦 Fat Joe butchering a (absolute classic) Backstreet Boys song with AJ McLean in the building.

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