Portraits, Vignettes & Instagrams from 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans
It wasn’t our first rodeo together in the Big Easy. The two of us had visited twice before, but I’ve been there at least a hundred times over the course of my life and always love to get back. In fact, the February 14 weekend was already penciled in for a family event; the NBA just happened to be in town.
It’s been a while since the Wizards gave a good reason to cover All-Star festivities. This year, John Wall and Bradley Beal played prominent roles on each night. Unfortunately, I missed Beal in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday evening via snow delays and flight cancellations in D.C. However, through a little luck (but not before some pouting), I was able to make it to Louisiana just in time for All-Star Saturday night—Beal in the 3-point contest and Wall in the dunk contest—before the main stage game featuring Wall on Sunday. The fiancée, relatively new to the fashion blogging game but always full of commentary, joined the All-Star coverage from New Orleans (she’d actually gotten down there before me).
Portraits, Vignettes, and Instagrams, from NBA All-Star New Orleans 2014. We also might count some buttons. I’ll let her take it away…
When I meet Kyle’s friends or writing connections, I think they assume one of two things: a) I love basketball as much as him, or b) I hate it.
Honestly, it’s: c) I’m fine with it. No strong feelings. Sort of like a Tuesday, it’s just another day of the week, just as deserving of respect as Thursday or Wednesday. But, seeing that we were going to be in New Orleans anyway, when the opportunity presented itself to cover NBA All-Star events for TAI (with a different eye, clearly), it was something unique that I could not pass up.
Part of being a photographer, of sorts (and not an ‘unbiased’ credentialed member of the media seriously covering “the sports”), is being able to get your subject to pose. And all one needs is a smile to convert the able to willing. So of course I did my hair that morning and flashed my corrected-at-22-with-adult-braces mega-watt smile. It’s NBA All-Star Weekend!
Some old basketball players are about to get street-styled. Let’s caption.
Horace (& Jesse).@elisakai: This gentleman was well-dressed and friendly. My two top criteria! And while a six-button suit might not be the most modern option this gentleman has, I do appreciate the tux cuffs. Also, please note that The Reverend Jesse Jackson is attempting to photobomb and tear my subject away from his focus (me). But, this semi-famous “man of G-d” was no match for me with my hair did! *sassy finger snaps*
Grade: B for effort, and I’m going to throw in a ‘+’ because I don’t know if I’ve ever actually seen a six-button jacket.
@truth_about_it: Jesse Jackson then spoke in rhythmic tones to Chris Webber about the gestures and faces he makes to get it bouncin’ in the club.
Chris (& Jesse).Button Count: Horace Grant checks in with a stout six buttons. Meanwhile, Chris Webber checks with a ‘grown-and-sexy’ two buttons. Jesse has your standard three-button political affair. —KW
A.C.@elisakai: While everyone I photographed was pretty friendly, this guy was by far the nicest. And when Kyle told me about his self-imposed virginity-status during his NBA playing years, the pieces all fit together. He even threw in the “peace sign” without me even having to ask! Guys, we can only all hope that our daughters meet a man with priorities as aligned as his!
Grade: B+ for Peace.
@truth_about_it: Yao Ming gazed into my soul. He saw a wizard, and probably some oysters … and maybe the buttons of a keyboard floating in space; likely a beer.
Yao.Button Count: Not quite at Ho’ Grant levels, but A.C. Green does check in with five buttons. Yao Ming looks to be wearing a single button featuring a large, glasses-wearing man-head. —KW
Craig.@elisakai: Even I know this guy. And as the Betsy Johnson of the NBA, I knew that a) I needed his photo, and b) he wouldn’t mind pausing to vogue for me.
Grade: A+ because, FASHION.
@truth_about_it: Craig Sager is an institution. So is his teapot microphone hold pose. Pure class.
John & Craig.Button Count: Hard to completely get a sense, but “Sages” looks to be wearing a fashionable two buttons. —KW
Steve.@elisakai: I promise that this gentlemen was focused on me when something distracted him. Probably Jesse Jackson chasing my sloppy seconds again. #Jealous
@truth_about_it: Either LeBron was checking his stats post-haste upon leaving the court, having spoiled the masses with his dunks… Or he was reading the latest algorithmically produced one-pager on how his next commercial campaign will convey him as increasingly human.
LeBron.Button Count: Steve Smith is wearing a two-button cut, but those really were just from the decorative center of the couch cushion. LeBron, on the other hand, is wearing two buttons for eyes. —KW
Spike.@elisakai: Hey guys, look! It’s Spike Lee at a basketball game!! This is not exciting, but he was the Dapper-est Dan in the house. You can’t see it from this angle, but he actually had a feather in that cap. A feather. And he’s wearing those BCG’s (that’s girl talk for “Birth Control Glasses”) better than 98 percent of the hipsters walking around are wearing them at this very moment.
@truth_about_it: On All-Star Saturday night, both Reggie Miller and Spike Lee whispering sweet-nothings into Kevin Hart’s tiny little ears while Reggie is about to pat the lil’ guy on the butt is beyond light-years imaginable from the Pacers-Knicks “eight points in nine seconds” days of the ’95 playoffs, or the throat-choking, ‘shut the eff up, bitch‘ talk from the ’94 playoffs. But hey, life.
Reggie, Kevin & Spike.Button Count: I don’t know, but I’d bet that somebody in this photo has a cat named Buttons. —KW
Wiz Fans.@elisakai: Wizards fans representing at the All-Star game!
@truth_about_it: Erstwhile, when not feasting on the blood of the damned (and by that, we mean the benevolence that the Dear Leader has toward the game of professional basketball), Commissioner Adam Silver can be found living it up. He can be found talking about chest hair. He can be found talking about crazy-cool medallions.
Adam.Button Count: “Buttons? Where we’re going, you don’t need buttons.” —Adam Silver before slowly walking backwards behind the curtain and fading into the night, but peeking his head out from the side every so often to see if people have left yet. —KW
Rick.@elisakai: Oh hey, it’s ‘this’ guy! You know, the pretty one that makes your GFs do a double-take when he pops up on the TV. As a woman experienced with the overly-pretty man, I know better than to swoon. That being said, he was my first photo, and his kindness set the tone
Grade: A, even I am not immune to those teeth.
@truth_about_it: Bonus: On the night prior, an indoor fashion scarf sideline reporter used Rick Fox as a microphone.
Microphone.Button Count: One fancy bottle of water that looks to be a suppository for a fancy glacier that wears a monocle, and one scarf/pocket-square/glasses combo that says, ‘Hey, wake up, your microwaved hot dog and popcorn dinner has stopped making hissing and popping noises, it’s probably overdone.’ —KW
The David Falk, Jesse Jackson, and Roy Hibbert Chronicles
So the type of media credential that we had involved taking an elevator to the tippy-top of the Smoothie King cup. (Hey maw, we in the building!). This means that one would get to (more like ‘have to’) ride the elevator with certain dignitaries and celebutantes trying to get to ‘VIP levels’… Thus, Karl Malone with his lookin’ ass totally cut in line at one point (as the lines to ascend into the heavens would get about 25-to-30 people deep).
So, at one point I found myself trying to move it on up to the deluxe media table in the sky when on the elevator stepped the Reverend Jesse Jackson. No biggie. Saw him on the arena floor trying to save All-Star souls.
Next on the docket: One David Falk, proprietor of the evil empire of ‘get mine’ souls on the hardwood, i.e., a player agent, and his client, Roy Hibbert.
Falk immediately latched onto Jackson, who may or may not have immediately recognized the creature of vulture-ish habit. Nonetheless, Falk was going to give Jackson his digits, and they were going to save the world together.
At that juncture it seemed apropos for me to snap of picture of the affair—not so much in a gawking manner, but, if they were to save the world, I would also be doing that same world a ‘solid’ by documenting such a historical occasion.
Of course, the flash on my iPhone accidentally went off, prompting Hibbert to whisper in Falk’s ear (paraphrased): “Yo, dawg, they tryin’ to video you.”
No one else on the rather crowded elevator really noticed. (Or DID they?!!!) And most all parties involved got off on the next floor while I kept rising.
And so, either a connection was made and the world’s problems will later be solved. OR, I was somehow able to thwart a plot to kill the Queen a la the movie, “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!”
I’m going with the latter.