All Star Weekend Recap Pt. 1 of 3
Slowly lifting my fatigued eyelids to the infuriating buzzes of a fully juiced iPhone at 5 a.m., I’ve never felt more excited to leave the frigid northeast behind. Waking up in the same clothes I would be traveling in, I layered myself just proper enough to bare the late night temperatures of our final destination. Putting aside my two pieces of luggage that I meticulously measured with my pocket-sized measuring tape to ensure they qualified as carry-ons, I couldn’t help but to realize we were on our way to NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Florida. As I hopped into the SUV that took us to Philadelphia Airport, the minimal exchange of words between me and my colleagues and the steady bobbing of heads to groovy jams would define how speechlessly excited we were to embark on this journey.
Welcomed by a dense whiff of humidity and the multiple arrays of palm trees, we couldn’t help but to feel joyous despite the fact that our car rental service directed us to the wrong rental car upon our arrival. We almost felt like we were strolling around an endless maze of newly parked sedans and SUVs, only to be informed 20 minutes later that our vehicle was on the other side of the parking garage. Nonetheless, our All-Star Weekend in Orlando started off with the digestion of prime, moist, thinly sliced roast beef sandwiches complemented by a side of homemade tater tots at a local favorite restaurant, Beefy King. But our day was barely started.
Although we were suffering from the late stages of a Beefy King food coma crumbling up into the corners of a red table booth with our heads hanging loose, we made our way to the Florida Mall to get an exclusive sneak peek of what Footaction was preparing for All-Star Weekend. Enclosed by a huge Air Jordan Jumpman logo curtain, we tiptoed our way into an almost fully transformed interior that symbolized the force and energy behind the Jordan brand. Along with some of the Footaction team, we were fortunate enough to watch the construction of the fluorescent glass displays and an immaculate Air Jordan “Sneaker History” exhibit that would also serve as the stage background for the store appearances of Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.
As the Florida sun was beginning to set, we exited the Florida Mall noticing the energetic buzz in the humid air and the excitement and elation that the Orlando locals had on their faces. Anticipating encounters with flocks of die-hard fans and sneakerheads in the next couple days, we headed to a local Mexican restaurant to stock up on cheesy burritos and soft tacos to accompany us for the rest of the night at our hotel. Toasting to a weekend full of All-Star events, we knocked out early to prepare for the havoc Chris Paul would cause the day after.