It’s official: the NBA All-Star Weekend is coming to New Orleans in 2017 and bringing with it world-class competition and entertainment. All-Star Weekend culminates with the best players in the world facing off against each other in the 66th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Smoothie King Center, but that’s just a small piece of the fun. Falling on the first weekend of Mardi Gras, the excitement of parades and All-Star activities together creates a once-in-a-lifetime event in downtown New Orleans.
NBA All-Star Weekend Events
Head to NBAtickets.com to get access to one of the world’s premier combination of sports and entertainment, and check out all the details below.
On Friday, Feb. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m., the Smoothie King Center hosts the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, where celebrities from film, television, and music are matched up with and against NBA legends. Last year New Orleans resident and Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler took home MVP honors after going head-to-head with comedian Kevin Hart.
After the celebrities finish their game, the best first- and second-year NBA players will take to the court in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. The format of the game, which pits U.S. born versus international players, adds another layer to the competitive dynamic. Tickets start at just $10, making it both an accessible and amazing way to see the future of the NBA.
The East and West All-Star teams hold practice on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. This is an incredible opportunity to see the world’s greatest basketball players—including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kawhi Leonard—getting ready for the big event.
The State Farm All-Star Saturday Night (7 to 9:30 p.m.) combines two of the All-Star Weekend’s traditional favorites (the Slam Dunk and Three-Point competitions) with some newer, popular competitions, including the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host additional events, including the Development League’s own All-Star Game 1:30 p.m. plus dunk and three-point competitions.
The big game! The All-Star game starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, and while you can guarantee amazing action on the court, you’ll also want to see The Roots, who will kick off the All-Star game fanfare at 6 p.m. And don’t even think about sneaking out at half time: John Legend takes the stage for the half-time show.
NBA Cares and Jr. NBA Events
Concurrent NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events will take place in the city throughout the week. On Thursday, Feb. 16, the NBA will host basketball and fitness clinics at five elementary schools in New Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, where healthy living and the fundamentals of basketball will be taught to the city’s youth. The following day, the NBA will continue their clinics with Jr. NBA Day, where current and former NBA, WNBA, D-League Players (as well as celebrities and mascots) will lead 1,000 young New Orleanians—from school groups and after school organizations—through a range of fun and instructional basketball drills and competitions.
MARDI GRAS PARADES
While basketball fans from New Orleans, around the country, and all over the world will enjoy the All-Star Weekend and its festivities, there’s another spectacle going on right here in the city—Mardi Gras. Here’s a selection (click each krewe name for route information) of some of the parades that you’ll want to check out over the weekend:
Friday, Feb. 17
- Krewe of Oshun
Named for the Yoruba God of Love and Intimacy.
- Krewe of Cleopatra
This Uptown parade honors the last Pharaoh of Egypt.
- Krewe of Athena
Head out of the city to Metairie to see the parade of the newest all-female Mardi Gras krewe.
Saturday, Feb. 18
- Krewe of Pontchartrain
This parade, named for the lake, features two unmissable floats: “Mr. Mudbug” (the world’s largest crawfish) and a giant fish dubbed “The Super Grouper.”
- Krewe of Freret
A krewe are comprised of “male, female, young, old, proper, outrageous, native, and transplant.” If you’d like to ride with them, here’s how.
- Krewe of Chewbacchus
Saving the galaxy through a sic-fi themed celebration of nerdom in the Marigny.
Sunday, Feb. 19
- Krewe of Femme Fatale
A parade that celebrates New Orleanian women of “all creeds and colors.”
- Krewe of Carrollton
Founded in 1924, this krewe has a long tradition and some of the city’s most popular throws. (Last year they tossed 4,000 shrimp boots.)
- Krewe of Barkus
Last but far from least, the Krewe of Barkus puts dogs (and their human companions) at the center of the action in the heart of the French Quarter.