SATURDAY, 2/18/06 – I went to downtown Houston Saturday afternoon where all of the All-Star game activities are taking place. First of all, it was really cold walking around outside, probably in the mid-40’s (Fahrenheit) when it’s normally in the 60’s this time of year. It was a lot colder when you factor in the wind chill!
I took some photos outside of Toyota Center, then walked over to the George R. Brown Convention Center to check out the outside of NBA Jam Session. I had heard on the radio that Jam Session had sold out today, but I wasn’t too upset since I had been to it a couple of times in other cities, and they are pretty much all the same.
I did drop by some of the hotels downtown where a lot of the NBA players and sponsors were staying. At both the Hilton and The Four Seasons they were checking for room keys before you could enter the lobby to keep loiterers out. Good for them.
The night before I went to the downtown Hyatt Regency with another key founder of the Yao Ming Fan Club to meet with some potential partners, and met some very interesting people, like the grandson of James Naismith. Naismith is the man who invented basketball.
Many of the former NBA players were staying at the Hyatt, and I saw guys like George Gervin, Manute Bol, Dan Majerle and Mark Eaton. Except for Majerle, it was somewhat sad to see all of them walking gingerly, probably because of all the wear-and-tear they had put on their knees during their NBA careers.
One of the intriguing conversations I had in the Hyatt lobby was with top skateboarder Chris Gentry, a Houston native doing business with some of the people who are also doing deals with NBA licensors. Chris is a very engaging cat with a magnetic vibe about him. He is one of the founders of the Pro Riders Organization, created to further the sports of skateboarding, bicycle motocross, and freestyle motocross.
That’s really all I have for my All-Star game report. I wasn’t lucky enough to get tickets to any of the events, but for some reason I’m not missing much of it. I probably would if the Rockets had a better record and were in the hunt for a top seeding in the playoffs.