Indy hosting opening ceremony on Feb. 15, setting a new standard for NBA All-Star Weekend
It will be at Bicentennial Unity Plaza — free and open to the public. But you'll need a ticket to see Tamika Catchings, Mike Epps and other surprise guests.
Indianapolis takes center stage in the sports world in 10 days when the NBA, its partners, plus entertainers and media from across the globe arrive in the Circle City for the start of All-Star Weekend.
And like the city did with the Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, the local host committee is setting a new standard for what it means to host NBA All-Star Weekend.
So at 6 p.m. on Thursday of All-Star weekend, Indy’s NBA All-Star host committee will be hosting “The Tip-Off” — an opening ceremony to jumpstart a massive weekend in downtown Indianapolis.
It is open to the public and free. However, a ticket is required and it will be limited to 5,000 ticket holders due to space concerns. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.
(Limited to four per person.)
“The Tip-Off is yet another element that is going to make NBA All-Star in Indy special and unique, an extra-special touch that sets our city apart and an exciting way to send us into a special weekend of basketball, arts, and culture,” said Mel Raines, President of the NBA All-Star 2024 Host Committee and President and Chief Operating Officer for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.
Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, a co-chair for the host committee, along with actor, comedian, and Pacers superfan Mike Epps will emcee this event intended to fire up locals and guests alike for the big event.
There will also be a performance by a national artist (TBA), music from local artists, the opportunity to see NBA and Pacers legends, plus fireworks.
Never before has there been an opening ceremony for NBA All-Star weekend — until now.
Not until Indianapolis.
“It’s going to be great,” said PS&E CEO Rick Fuson. “When you’re downtown, you’re gonna feel All-Stars, you’re gonna see All-Stars and you’re gonna feel like you are an All-Star.”
Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.
At Bicentennial Unity Plaza.
Free, but limited to 5,000 ticket holders.
It opens an hour ahead of time, at 5 p.m. and will last about 45 minutes.
It’s a weekend that’s been in the works for about seven years, since Larry Bird delivered their All-Star bid to the NBA’s New York City offices in an IndyCar. And it was originally scheduled to be held in 2021. Then it was postponed to 2024 and because of it, the experience will be even better because there’s even more to offer.
And the host committee intends to take full advantage.
One of the big focuses at Indy’s All-Star weekend will be making everyone feel a part of the events, something they observed was always missing from previous All-Star weekends. The goal is for the events to engage with all who come downtown. There will be light shows, giant basketball sculptures, storefront galleries and street art across the city — in addition to the fan fest and more formal league events.
“We imagined what better way to define downtown’s footprint than a basketball court,” said Ebony Armstrong, director of events, activations and venues for All-Star 2024. “It doesn’t get any more Indiana than that. This is truly basketball’s homecoming and you will be in Indy’s home court.”
You may have heard promos for All-Star weekend, saying “Downtown is the court and the fan is truly going to be the All-Star.” They have spent years strategizing how best to make fans the centerpiece at NBA All-Star 2024.
The best examples of that are how NBA Crossover in the Indiana Convention Center will be massive, more than twice the size of last year in Salt Lake City, and All-Star Saturday night will be hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium. That opens it up to twice as many ticket-holders and the first 10,500 tickets were limited to Indiana residents.
And for the first time, the court at the stadium will be a glass floor with state-of-the-art LEDs. So they can show whatever they want on the court and try new things.
NBA All-Star banners are already displayed on light poles throughout the downtown, more banners continue to go up, a replica court is displayed at the airport and Pacers All-Star Tyrese Haliburton became the first individual to be featured on the JW Marriott.
NBA staff members begin to arrive into town this week to begin final preparations.
The 73rd NBA All-Star game — the marquee event — will be held on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. And it will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 50 languages.
Let me know in the comments: What are you most excited to see?