For many, NBA All-Star weekend is about basketball games and festivities, but for one local resident, the preparation is her passion.
Zionsville resident Dianna Boyce, 45, one of the creators behind the “Nothing but Knit” community initiative, is the vice president of the All-Star NBA weekend, which comes to Indianapolis in February 2024. Indianapolis was set to host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, but it was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBA plans several events around the All-Star weekend, including the Celebrity Game, the Rising Stars Game, the NBA All-Stars practice day, a skills challenge, a 3-point contest and a slam dunk competition. Each leads up to the marquee event — the Feb. 18 All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
“Slam dunks are the art of basketball, so the Saturday night event is very popular and a tough ticket to get,” Boyce said. “The athletes have a lot of star power around them, so the opportunity for people and the media to watch the All-Stars during their practice session is also an experience.”
Boyce, who was most recently senior director for corporate communications at The Finish Line, is leading the planning and implementation for marketing and communications and coordinating the operations, host committee, legacy components, and the “Nothing but Knit” program – a community-based initiative to create blue and gold beanies through knitting and crocheting.
The beanies will be given to the volunteers, coaches and players to wear during NBA All-Star weekend.
Boyce said the creation of the knitting program was to get nontraditional fans invested in the All-Star festivities.
“We focused on how fans can engage with All-Stars,” Boyce said. “Even if they don’t have an opportunity to have a seat at the event, the beanies did that.”
Boyce said that when she started the program, she anticipated a need for about 4,000 beanies. But so far, nearly 8,000 have been made.
As the beanies – made by people from across the U.S. — were coming in, Katie Marsh, owner of the Village Yarn Co. in Zionsville, helped collect the beanies.
“My shop was one of the main locations for collecting the beanies, and it was mainly my regular customers that were knitting the beanies and bringing them to the store,” Marsh said. “We provided the kits that were put together with the yarn.
“My customers always support a good cause like this.”
Michele Hoosier, the Indiana Pacers Sports and Entertainment guest services coordinator, made more than 500 beanies.
“It was a good opportunity to work on my knitting and crocheting skills, and it gave me the opportunity to do something for a good cause,” Hoosier said.
When the beanies were knitted, the official NBA 2024 All-Star patch needed to be sown. Boyce said she reached out to the Indiana Women’s Prison and asked if it would be interested in helping in the effort.
“There are people in the women’s prison that aren’t going to be able to go out and be at the game, but they can now say, like many others who participated in the “Nothing but Knit” program, that they played a part in the Indiana All-Star (weekend),” Boyce said.
Boyce said the beanies would be given to all volunteers and gifted to players and coaches.
“When someone looks out their window in Indianapolis that weekend, all they will see is people wearing the beanies with the official NBA 2024 patch,” Boyce said. “We love having those kinds of opportunities, and that is what makes the All-Stars more than a game.”