There comes a time every now and then when an event is so legendary, that even the mildest fan would agree that it’s a once in a life time opportunity. That would be NBA All-Star Weekend where the who’s who of sports and entertainment come together to witness the battle of the best NBA players of the East and West, bask in the glory of celebrities and attend the most extravagant star-studded parties of the year.
While it may not be the Super Bowl, what makes NBA All-Star 2016 (taking place Feb. 12-14) particularly special is that the annual event will be held in none other than Toronto, ON. The first time held outside of the United States. Even the unveiling of the official NBA All-Star 2016 uniforms was a big to do, with their incorporated elements to pay homage to Toronto and Canada. What a time to be alive!
I’m going to keep it 100 for the loyal basketball fans who may be reading this: my knowledge of the NBA is little to none. Therefore I’m not going to front on you with a plethora of basketball stats and predictions, that I really don’t know anything about. What I can say is what a victory this has been for the City of Toronto and the Toronto Raptors organization.
After a grueling three-year rebuilding period, the Raptors finally came through with a playoff spot in the 2013-14 season. This was the first time since 2008, which birthed the #WeTheNorth campaign, now known nation-wide. The Raptors then claimed a playoff spot for the second time in 2015. While it resulted in a disappointing 4-0 sweep for the Washington Wizards, the 2014-15 season was one the best in Raptors franchise history and former point guard Lou Williams became the first ever Raptor to win Sixth Man of the Year.
So how’d I do?
Photo: George Pimentel (Getty Images)
While I may not be big on basketball, what fascinates me is the connection between hip-hop, the NBA and it’s star-players. For example: the homage artists pay in their music (Shouts to Peter Jackson), Jay Z’s love affair with the Brooklyn Nets and the culture’s ongoing obsession with anything to do with a pair of Jordans. Even the Raptors’ official DJ, DJ 4KORNERS, has become famous in his own right, touring from city-to-city when not posted up at the Air Canada Centre.
We can’t escape talk of the 6 Side without the 6 God and I ain’t mad it one bit. Drake reigned supreme in 2015 and continues to do so as we’re fresh into a new year. As Global Ambassador for the Raptors, Drake played a key-role in the re-branding of team’s new uniforms, even unveiling a custom OVO jersey at 2015’s OVO Fest. On top of all that Drizzy has accomplished, having his hometown host NBA All-Star for the first time in Canada is just icing on the cake.
Drake & Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford
While we’re at it, let’s take a small trip down memory lane:
1. Drake dropped If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late to everyone’s surprise during New York City’s NBA All-Star 2015.
2. He basically made history with his opening performance for 2015’s OVO Fest. Those memes!
3. Not only was he victorious in the now infamous beef with Meek Mill, but “Back to Back” is now the first ever diss track to be nominated for a Grammy.
4. What A Time To Be Alive, anyone?
5. The NBA just announced that Drake has been selected as head coach of Canada’s All-Star Celebrity team, who will face team USA (lead by Kevin Hart) at the All-Star Celebrity Game on February 12.
6. The highly anticipated Views From The 6 release date was moved to January 6, 2016… but here we are again. Maybe it drops All-Star Weekend? Patiently waiting.
Trust I can go on, but I’m sure you get the point.
The beauty of NBA All-Star Weekend is that you really don’t need to be a sports-stan to enjoy yourself. There’s something for everyone, and if you love a good party, then this is the place to be. As an avid fan of hip-hop, All-Star Weekend is known for having the hottest artists in the game come through. (If you didn’t catch the recap of Hot 97’s Tip Off concert, during All-Star 2015, you’re welcome).
Jay Z and Lebron James’ annual 2 Kings Dinner is rumored to be held Drake’s new and exclusive, Sher Nightclub. With it’s members-only status, located inside the Air Canada Centre, the plush nightspot should be one of the most desirable of the entire weekend.
So far AllStarWeekend2016Toronto.com has been my go-to source to keep up with the events in the city. As the big weekend rapidly approaches, the website is updated with the hottest parties in Toronto, whether you ball or on a budget, there’s something for everyone. If you’re wanting the ultimate All-Star weekend experience, but aren’t too familiar with the city, then I would recommend this site as a good start for resources.
After watching All-Star 2015 vicariously through social media, my level of FOMO was at a 10. That’s why attending this year, on home soil, wasn’t even a question. My flight is booked and I will be onsite on the 6 Side come February 11-14! The events I’ll be attending during the weekend are still unknown, but be sure to catch up on the action as it unfolds on HipHopCanada, as well as our Instagram and Twitter feeds. Perhaps I’ll get into the big game? I might get into Drake’s uber exclusive club, I may even rub elbows with the notorious Norm Kelly! Stay tuned my friends.