NBA All-Star weekend to promote Utah’s Black businesses

Feb 8, 2023, 11:02 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — When the All-Star Game comes to Salt Lake City next week, the athletes won’t be the only ones in the spotlight.

The stage is set to welcome NBA all-stars back to Vivint Arena for the first time in 30 years, and there’s a full-court press by Utah’s Black Chamber of Commerce to get a slice of the exposure.

Dr. Sidni Lloyd Shorter, the chamber’s president and CEO, said this platform will help elevate the Black community and show the world they’re open for business.

“This is an opportunity to really showcase and expose what’s really happening here in Utah,” Shorter said.

Their numbers are few. The black community makes up less than 2% of Utah’s population and has 400+ chamber members.

But Shorter said Black businesses are booming — and most of them are owned by women.

“When you don’t find that your expertise or experience is neither appreciated, acknowledged or fairly compensated, you take the risk to go out on your own.”

They’re teaming up with some heavy hitters during All-star weekend – the NBA Foundation, NBA Players Association, Microsoft and Coca-Cola.

Some of those events include a technology boot camp for Utah students, panel discussions with NBA great Isaiah Thomas and actress Phylicia Rashad, and the first-ever black business pitch competition.

“We have four of our members who are finalists for that competition so we’re very proud that they chose the black chamber as a partner,” said Shorter.

Shorter sees this weekend as a lot of wins that can set them up for long-term success.

“We try not to check boxes. We try to do relevant work that impacts and brings value.”

Shorter also reminded Utahns to show these businesses some love as part of Black History Month.

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NBA All-Star weekend to promote Utah’s Black businesses