This year, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) annual NBA All-Star game was held in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 19, 2023. As part of the NBA All-Star game, two local charities were selected as beneficiaries of the two competing teams. The Salt Lake City charities chosen were both youth and family-serving organizations. This year, Team LeBron chose to play for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah (BBBSU) to support one-to-one mentoring for kids in Utah, while Team Giannis played on behalf of Raise the Future.
“The league’s community initiatives will culminate during the NBA All-Star Game where Team LeBron and Team Giannis will collectively donate nearly a million dollars for local youth and family-serving organizations,” NBA Cares explains. BBBSU was thrilled and honored to have been chosen as one of this year’s beneficiaries. This opportunity provided a huge donation to BBBSU’s mentoring programs as well as once-in-a-lifetime experiences for the kids in the program.
2023 NBA All-Star Weekend Recap
The All-Star weekend included 3 days of exciting events focused on youth, basketball, and social impact. Kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah were integrated into the All-Star Weekend events, including a Jr NBA Youth Basketball Clinic, the All-Star Practice, and the All-Star Game.
Jr NBA Youth Basketball Clinic
On February 17th, the Utah Junior Jazz in conjunction with the Jr. NBA hosted a youth basketball clinic to practice basketball skills for children ages 6-14. This included the Her Time to Play clinic, allowing girls to play with WNBA players for a day, and a skills clinic for 200 Special Olympic athletes. Bigs and Littles from BBBSU programs got to attend the clinic to go through basketball drills and learn new skills with the professionals from the Jr. NBA. The Matches had an amazing evening getting to learn new skills together and even meet some famous basketball team mascots as well as basketball legend, Sam Perkins.
NBA All-Star Practice
On February 18th, the NBA held their All-Star practice. For this event, 20 Littles attended and had the opportunity to sit court-side and watch both team’s players practice and compete in fun challenges to raise money for each of their charities. Players even came over to meet the Littles and sign their shirts. A group of Littles also had the chance to join players as they walked on to the court as they were announced.
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game
On February 19th, A group of BBBSU Littles got the chance to attend the 2023 NBA All-Star Game. During this exhibition game, the top 24 players in the NBA league competed on behalf of their selected local charities. At the end of each quarter of the game, the team with the most points won additional money to be donated to their charity. Overall, a total of $750,000 was contributed to the two charities from the NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Practice.
50 Bigs and Littles attended the game, and Littles had the opportunity to sit on stage with the players while captains drafted their official teams to play in the game. Team members included the Utah Jazz’s very own Lauri Markkanen. During the game, BBBSU attendees sat right behind the hoop to cheer on Team LeBron.
BBBSU is thankful to NBA All-Star, and NBA Cares for uplifting the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah and sharing their name and mission. At the close of the All-Star Weekend, Team LeBron helped raise a total of $200,000 for mentoring youth in Utah.
BBBSU is grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the All-Star Weekend and be able to give kids in the program these experiences. The events and donations will have a lasting impact on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah to expand awareness to individuals searching for volunteer opportunities in Utah.
Sharing the BBBSU name and mission has a huge impact in helping to recruit more mentors for kids who are waiting in Utah. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities in Utah with BBBSU, please visit https://bbbsu.org/be-a-mentor/.