CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of people filed into Bojangles Coliseum Friday night for the 2019 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Doors opened for the event at 5 p.m. with the game tipping off right around 7 p.m. Well after the game had begun, several fans were still streaming into the arena. Some attendees told WBTV they had traveled from out of state to be in town for the weekend.
“We drive from Norfolk, Virginia and we came all the way here to Charlotte. It took like 6 to 7 hours,” said Ksim Nyles Carby, a young NBA fan.
However, for many Charlotte residents, the All-Star festivities are just a short drive away. NBA fan Justin Bennett said his home is only 10 minutes from Bojangles Coliseum. He told WBTV he was excited for a rare chance to see several celebrities in the Queen City.
“(I) get to see a bunch of celebrities. I just saw Ron Artest right over there,” Bennett told WBTV during an interview inside of the coliseum.
Liyah Peterson said she and her friends came into town to celebrate their friend’s birthday in conjunction with the All-Star festivities.
“It’s exciting because you get to see a lot of other people you’ve never met before and get to build to connections and just have fun and just live life,” said Peterson.
Several celebrities who were participating in Friday night’s game hit the red carpet before suiting up in their basketball gear.
Dr. Oz took delight in showing off his 10-year-old sweatband while comedian J.B. Smoove cracked joked with members of the media.
For some of the celebrities who have a connection to the Carolinas, the event seemed to be a little more special.
“It’s not your New York City. It’s not your Houston so to have everything going on here, it’s a lot of fun,” said WNBA basketball star A’ja Wilson, a former student-athlete at the University of South Carolina.