By Kyle Daniels
Basketball is synonymous with Hip-Hop culture, with many rappers wanting to be ball players and visa versa. NBA All-Star weekend is a collision of both worlds and this year was no let down, from court side cameos of Quavo, Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz to dynamic performances by Meek Mill and J. Cole. However, there were two other worlds that truly took center stage; volunteerism and philanthropy.
Aside from trophies and bragging rights, the NBA All-Star game focused on a much bigger prize, competing for local charities. The winning team’s charity would receive $350,000, and the loser’s charity $150,000. Team Giannis played for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina and Team LeBron selected to play for Right Moves for Youth Charlotte.
While Sundays game would offer major contributions to both non-profits, there was a roster of good deeds done over the weekend.
As part of NBA All-Star 2019, members of the NBA family worked alongside local community organizations to support tens of thousands of children, families and people in need across Charlotte through a series of grassroots programs and events.
On Friday for the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, volunteers sorted and repacked food donations to distribute to children, seniors, families and others. The other two NBA Cares projects around Charlotte included a refurbishment of a community space, kit-packing project and computer lab in partnership with United Way Central Carolinas. The kits included school supplies, snacks and hygiene items for families.
Also making a splash of generosity throughout the city was Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. Steph, who grew up in Charlotte said his foundation will renovate the basketball court at the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center nearby. His father, NBA veteran Dell Curry also played his part by hosting a “Legends” shootout featuring Mark Price, Ray Allen, Glen Rice and himself. The event raised $35,000 for Classroom Central, a local charity in Charlotte that equips students in need to effectively learn by collecting and distributing free school supplies to their teachers.
While Sunday’s big game looked to be a lop sided victory by Team Giannis, Team LeBron bounced back in the second half and finished with a final score of 178-164. Before announcing Kevin Durant as 2019’s All-Star MVP, both charity groups stood half court and accepted their NBA donations. Although one team had to take a loss, everyone were winners in the spirit of Giving Back.