All-Star Weekend 2022 took attendees on a joyful journey through the ‘90s in more ways than one.
Through their impressively executed partnership with NBA JAM, Michelob ULTRA encouraged fans to “Enjoy it Like It’s 1993” by bringing the beloved game to life both virtually and on-the-ground in Cleveland, Ohio. Over the course of the three-day stretch, the partnership united some of the ‘90s most legendary players, personalities, and artists to create an irreplaceable tribute to the good old days.
The weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday (Feb. 18) as fans were invited to take over a local barcade that was completely revamped to resemble an arcade straight from the ‘90s. The establishment adopted its alter ego name of “Boom Shaka Laka’s” for the weekend—a reference to the distinct sound effect from the original NBA JAM. Game machines were set up all around the perimeter of the room for guests to play, and no saved up quarters were necessary unlike back in the day.
Attendees were treated with a set by hidden NBA JAM character and iconic DJ Jazzy Jeff. Fans were thrilled to be able to witness a set from the legendary spin-master, but the star, himself, was just as honored to be there.
“I’m a huge basketball fan so being able to partake in anything at All-Star weekend is great, but now that Michelob ULTRA and NBA JAM are coming together, this is such a throwback,” the iconic DJ told REVOLT. “I would pick the All-Star game over the championship. It’s all of your favorite players all together, having fun, and you get to take a peek into their world.”
Jeff also delved into the art of being a DJ and how the skillset to be one will never be replaced. “There’s technology out there that people would say helps you DJ better, but there’s zero technology out there that helps you read the room,” he added. “There’s no technology that helps you read people’s faces to know if they’re tired or the energy is off. That’s a human experience.”
Fat Joe then closed out the night by confidently reminding people just how many hits he has. He weaved through fan-favorites like “What’s Luv?” featuring Ashanti, “Another Round” featuring Chris Brown, “Get It Poppin’” featuring Nelly, and “Sunshine (The Light).”
On Sunday afternoon (Feb. 20), esteemed Hall of Famers Dominque Wilkins and Dikembe Mutombo took the stage at Boom Shaka Laka’s to share some of their irreplaceable wisdom with voice of NBA JAM, Tim Kitzrow, as their humble host. Their HOF cohorts, James Worthy and Clyde Drexler, graced the stage the day before.
The conversation was a perfect representation of the weekend’s overall theme of bringing the old back into the new, as the players spoke in-depth about their thoughts on games today versus during their golden era.
“First, I’d like to say I’m very proud of them, and they always say they have learned so much from watching some of my tapes,” Mutombo said as he gave a few of his favorite current players their flowers. “For example, Joel Embiid, I’m very proud of him because he’s playing in an old school style. You go to Denver, you have Nikola Jokić. I think he’s one of the best ‘big men’ we’ve ever had. Someone who can pass and see the floor much better than anybody who ever played this game.”
“We all liked physicality. We wanted to be touched on that court,” said Wilkins, as he reflected on the differences in how the game was played back then. “If I can feel you, I got you right where I want you. If I can make you move one way, I’m going to go opposite. Those were the keys I learned early on. My high school coach was the best coach I ever had in my career because he taught me how to be a young man first, a player second, but he taught me the fundamentals of the game.”
The NBA saved the most jaw-dropping event for last when it walked down memory lane by honoring the 75 greatest players in NBA history — bringing the sentimental weekend to a harmonious close. The ceremony, held on Sunday night (Feb. 20) at The Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, united the best of the best. Among the prestigious group, there were a combined total of 158 NBA championships and 730 NBA All-Star selections, 110 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, and Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Awards, and more than 1.5 million points scored. In case you missed it, you can view the official list of players here.