Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin weren’t the only All-Stars in action this past weekend.
Members of the media had a chance to play in their own All-Star game of sorts on Sunday at Santa Monica High School. The game was organized by Li-Ning, a Chinese athletic company that currently has sponsorship deals with Baron Davis, Evan Turner, Jose CalderÃ³n, Shaquille O’Neal, and Hasheem Thabeet.
“I talked to Burton Chawla last July and we were doing a Golden Hoops event. I helped him resurrect an event in New York City and we started kicking around some ideas about All-Star,” said Li-Ning’s Brand Initiative Director for Basketball, Brian Cupps. “He said one thing was he knew all these guys that are writing about the games and talking to the best players all around the world all the time … they’re all ballplayers at heart. Some of them weren’t great players at the high school level, some of them are college players, and they still have a great passion for the game.”
Some of the media members that participated were ESPN’s Ric Bucher, Ric Bucher’s hair, Jared Zwerling of ESPN the Magazine, Jay Corbin of ESPN Rise and Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe. The teams were outfitted from head to toe in Li-Ning gear, including Davis’ new sneaker line.
“My hope and vision is that it becomes something that these guys really look forward to and can talk about and maybe talk a little trash leading up to it,” Cupps said. “Maybe a game-winning shot or a key move in this first year will just grow in legend over the years as these guys get a little bit older.”
Cupps accurately predicted a game-winning shot as Corbin (pictured above holding the two trophies) would hit a layup with time expiring in double overtime to give the Black team a 52-50 victory over the Blue team.
(Photo Credit: AK Entertainment)