My, what a difference a year makes! This time last year, as I was recapping my first NBA All Star work experience, I used words like "overwhelmed" and "panic" in my post. This time around was a completely different experience. Not only can I now take work trips and flights by myself without having a panic attack, but I entered every chaotic situation with confidence and made decisions and stuck by them. Behind the scenes, these NBA All Star events are not nearly as fun and care free as you might imagine. Especially when you're working for a larger-than-life athlete that everyone wants to talk to. Everywhere you go, there's cameras and interview requests and question after question. Still, I can't complain. It was a pretty awesome experience.
I am slightly bummed I didn't take more pictures of Houston since it was my first time there, but here are the moments I remembered to take out my camera and snap a few pictures...
The city of Houston was decked out in All Star swag. Everywhere I went, there were signs and posters and billboards. When I checked into my hotel, I noticed that what used to be windows were all filled with All Star posters. And of course my room key was also a nod to the event that had taken over the entire city...
The fun started early Friday morning with planning meetings, touch-base phone calls, and final walk throughs. Friday night marked our first media event, and I was excited to meet Rachel Nichols (formerly with ESPN, currently with CNN). I have been watching her work the sidelines on TV for years, so it was surreal to be sitting with her and talking to her like she was one of my pals. She was very nice and so sweet. We'll definitely be keeping in touch!
Saturday was another jam-packed day that started with my favorite event of All Star weekend. The LeBron James Family Foundation had completely renovated a local Boys & Girls Club gym, and we were part of the big reveal. There were hundreds of kids excitedly waiting to see their new gym, but little did they know... LeBron James was actually going to be there to surprise them! I will never forget the looks on the kids faces as they shrieked with excitement when he walked through the door. It was definitely a great moment those kids will never forget and I was so excited for them!
After the event, we did an exclusive sitdown with the Good Morning America crew...We made a few more stops before heading back to the hotel to get ready for Saturday night's "2 Kings" dinner. This was honestly one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I hesitate to even post about the celebrities in attendance because I don't want to be a name dropper... but when Beyonce is in the house, a girl's gotta share! Let me tell you, she is even more beautiful in person. After I fulfilled my red carpet media duties, I took my seat at this exclusive dinner and just looked around in awe. Of course I kept my cool and acted like I owned the place, but I couldn't believe I was actually sitting in the same room with people like Jay-Z, Beyonce, P-Diddy, Neyo, Drake, and Adrian Peterson. I kept thinking to myself 'how did I get here?' It was pretty cool.
All ready for Saturday night's event.
After planning for this weekend for so long, it felt like it went by in a flash. Before I could catch my breath, I was back on a plane headed home (and just happened to bump into Ray J who thought it was so cool that I had my boarding pass on my phone. Really??) After Corey and Ruby picked me up from the airport, we went straight to my parents house to have dinner with my family and tell all my cool stories. And to be honest, this dinner was far better than the celeb-infested dinner in Houston. Nothing makes me happier than being home with the ones I love.