Utahn’s creative plan to meet celebrities arriving for All-Star Game

Feb 16, 2023, 6:22 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

Jeffery Turner looking for celebrities...

Jeffery Turner explains his strategy to sneak a snapshot of celebrities at Salt Lake International. (KSL TV)


SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake International was already busy Thursday as thousands of people made their way into Salt Lake City for the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Crowds at the airport cheered on passengers as they arrived. Some shrieks were for returning missionaries and others for NBA players.

Jeffery Turner scoured the area looking for some NBA legends to photograph.

“You just kind of hang around and then you, when you see somebody,” then he held up his phone making a shutter sound.

Turner had a plane ticket, but he stayed in Salt Lake City.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. “But I’m going through security.”

His plan was to see a player on the other side of the security checkpoint.

“It’d be cool if you see Lebron James but, good luck with that,” Turner said.

He has a strategy for this mission. “Where you see the most security go, you just want to follow them because, you know, they’re going to escort someone through,” he explained.

Some NBA All-Star visitors have already met some of the MVPs.

Five-year-old Kayden is in town with his grandfather. He said, “Giannis let me slam dunk.”

Demarco Williams is Kayden’s grandfather. They came in from Kentucky. Williams said, “You see a lot of prominent people in places where you normally only get to see on TV, but now you get to see them in real life.”

He’s excited for his grandson to meet the players who are his heroes. “It lets him know dreams can come true,” he said.

Another fan spotted Pau Gasol at baggage claim. “I didn’t expect to actually see celebrities or YouTube stars or basketball stars. I thought they’d land somewhere else,” he said.

His was partially correct.

Airport officials said the weekend would also likely be unprecedented when it comes to private air travel to the area.

“Honestly, a lot of us believe we have not seen this kind of business, corporate or private jet charter traffic in the Salt Lake Valley ever,” Skypark Airport Manager Chris Volzer told KSL TV.

Volzer said the coming President’s Day weekend was already going to be one of the busiest air travel weekends because of ski getaways, and piling the NBA All-Star Game on top of that was essentially “uncharted waters.”

All-Star weekend will go well with enough patience, SLC officials say

City planners also closed off streets

Monday could be the busiest day ever at Salt Lake International.

If you’re heading out that day, give yourself some extra time for getting through the airport.

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Utahn’s creative plan to meet celebrities arriving for All-Star Game