Fans from around the world witness ‘amazing’ NBA All-Star Game experience

Feb 20, 2023, 8:04 AM | Updated: Feb 27, 2023, 11:28 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Long before Team Giannis outpaced Team LeBron, 184-175, the 2023 NBA All-Star Game was already a massive spectacle — with fans traveling from across the country and around the world to witness a basketball showcase.

People like Hector Castillo of Chile crossed international borders to see the game in-person, and they were rewarded with an All-Star game record 55 points from Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum.

Of course, Castillo was there for another star.

“I love LeBron,” Castillo said as he pointed to a tattoo on his left arm. “I love LeBron!”

The event literally drew everyone and their alpaca.

“Their names are Macaroni and Cheese,” said Megan Keith as she beamed over her two alpacas. She brought them to the fence around Vivint Arena for photos.

“This is an exciting event and why not bring more excitement to the area?” the owner of Peppergrass Ranch Alpaca Rental smiled.

Local businesses had been hoping to benefit from the anticipated $250 million economic impact projected by the Utah Jazz’ owner and others. Fans in the area, however, were simply grateful for the cultural benefit of the game and the events that surround it.

“Oh so the All-Star games are freakin’ amazing,” Devlyn Reaves said. “Yesterday I went to West High School. Flavor Flav was there and Metta World Peace (Metta Sandiford-Artest) was there and they were talking about mental health.”

Whether local or from another place, many fans who attended the game seemed to note the feeling of community.

“Like if I see a Lakers’ fan with a nice Lakers’ jersey, I’ll say, ‘I like your jersey!’” said Celtics’ fan Boyd Brooks. Blazers fan Chris Bevans of Portland, Ore., not only was impressed by the “amazing” fan experience but also by the setting.

“The mountains are incredible,” he said. “The whole production was really, really good.”

Reaves said she was happy to see visitors get a taste of what Utah is really like.

“It’s great to see all these people come here!” Reaves said. “Salt Lake City is a great place!”

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Fans from around the world witness ‘amazing’ NBA All-Star Game experience