Well. Week 1 of couch surfing and living out of my car was an exciting, if not inconvenient, success. If you exclude formal travel, I bet you I drove more this week than I did during the entire past 2 years. And what a week it was for the city of Charlotte, one that no matter where I was sleeping, I was not going to miss.
NBA All Star 2019 was here, an event that combined sports, fashion, diversity, current issues, celebrities and immense excitement. Ever since I was a kid, All Star Saturday Night was must see TV. There are lots of people in NC that poo poo the NBA, but for me, I absolutely love it.
It started 2 Saturdays ago at noon, as I called the Belk Theater box office 33 times and refreshed the website over 50 times to somehow snag 2 tickets to Dave Chappelle’s last minute show on Valentine’s Day. Since my Valentine was 1000 miles away, Mr. Chappelle would have to do. Decent way to start the festivities, having dinner with my pal Jim, watching Dave kill it, and then feeling the excitement start to build as we walked around uptown after the show.
I spent Friday night with my brother in law Jonathan, as the uptown Charlotte atmosphere intensified. He humored my shoe fetish as we were able to sneak into the House of Hoops pop up, where amongst other cool things, we were able to see Nike’s new shoes that you digitally tie via your phone. Mind blown.
We could have meandered all night, but instead chose to go ahead into the arena and catch our seats for Friday night’s Rising Stars game, where the top 19 and 20 year old NBA stars faced off against each other in what essentially was a pickup game dunk contest. Some hate that style, but I love it. It’s just loose, chill, and a ton of fun.
The NBA is one of the great contributors to the global fashion scene right now, and so there were fashion pop ups and events everywhere across town. There were 2, specifically, that I wanted to hit.
Saturday, it was the Meshika Hats All Star Pregame event at Tabor. And Sunday, it was the NBA Style Forum at the Tissot Style Lounge. I’ve made some friends over at Tabor, so I popped in, had a chat, and looked over the hats. It was time to raise the hat game even higher, and this paint splattered navy one was the ticket. Absolutely no doubt.
I wasn’t initially going to rock it Sunday, but well, I did. And I’m glad I did, because it started a conversation with Houston Rockets player and reigning NBA Style God PJ Tucker.
I had grabbed my pal Junior to join me, and after an hour long wait in the cold, we got into the Style Forum event. Featured were a top NBA stylist, PJ Tucker, music producer and professor 9th Wonder, and a prominent sneaker blogger. I love this stuff. It is its own culture. Its own world. PJ rocks a new pair of shoes one night, throws it on Instagram, and it literally moves the needle worldwide. Cool freaking panel though. Smart. Friendly. Articulate. Awesome way to end the weekend.
As I reflected on a weekend that mesmerized me via television every year, how was it in person? Even though this weekend was about mindless entertainment, fun, and other shenanigans, I just can’t turn off the curiosity and learning button in my head. Being around one of the greatest comedians in the world, the greatest NBA stars in the world, one of the most stylish players on the planet, the newest technologies, the best rappers, and wild hats galore. It just never gets old to immerse yourself within the best. To just soak it in. Observe. Listen. You never know if that is the world you may eventually find yourself in.
And just like that, it was over. Charlotte, back to normal. Well, other than the fact I don’t live there any more.
Have a great week.-Benj
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