The NBA All-Star Game will return to Indianapolis for the first time since 1985, and the improvements in technology since then have created a far different atmosphere this time around.
As part of the festivities, the NBA Rewards program is allowing businesses in Hamilton County and Zionsville to be involved as well as others across Indianapolis and the state.
“It’s a program to expand the economic impact of NBA All-Stars to local small businesses,” said Danny Lopez, Indiana Pacers vice president of external relations and corporate communications. “Businesses register and the NBA sends them a packet that has marketing materials, such as a sign. Individuals on the NBA Events app check in.”
Lopez said customers can open the app to earn points for confirming a visit to the business.
“We’ve already had two people earn 500 points and they have tickets to the NBA All-Star Game (on Feb. 18),” Lopez said. “There also are instant rewards, there is merchandise, apparel, NBA Rising Stars Game tickets. The goal is to try to get people to patronize these businesses, and it’s not just central Indiana, it’s statewide.”
Pure Green Juice and Smoothie Carmel is one of the businesses taking part in the promotion. Owner Alisa Jackson said the store signage about the event creates excitement.
“From my perspective, it’s been great for us to be a Carmel business included in the hype mode,” Jackson said. “I’m thrilled to help raise awareness and excitement around the fact that Indy is hosting one of the NBA’s biggest events. It’s about to go down and it’s going to be fantastic for Indiana.”
Other Carmel businesses include Hino Oishi, Juler’s Row, and Cretia Cakes. Geist Barber Shop in Fishers is among the other participants.
“We started signing up businesses in August and launched it to the public in October,” Lopez said. “This is the fourth time the NBA has held this, with the last time with Portland, which had 200 different businesses. We have 250 businesses signed up and another 150 Indiana landmarks.”
Some of those landmarks are Knightstown, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in New Castle, and the John Wooden statue on Georgia Street in Indianapolis. Points can be earned by visiting the landmarks.
Lopez said event information about the All-Star festivities is on the app.
“We want people coming downtown,” Lopez said. “There will be lots of music and activities. It will be a party. It’s almost like a party with a basketball game attached to it.”
Dan and Nancy Hintz’s Million Meal Movement will benefit from the 14th annual NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service. The Carmel couple founded the Million Meal Movement in 2007. Lopez said the effort will run continuously from 4 p.m., Feb. 15 to 4 p.m. Feb. 16, 2024. Approximately 6,000 volunteers will pack 1 million meals for Indiana residents experiencing hunger. The volunteers will do 90-minute shifts.
“The NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service is an incredible opportunity for Hoosiers to give back in a big way, with thousands of community members coming together in the spirit of volunteerism to pack meals that will benefit Indiana food banks and food pantries,” stated Nancy Hintz, executive director at Million Meal Movement. “We’re grateful to the NBA and Pacers Sports & Entertainment for this opportunity and look forward to fighting hunger at home with the phenomenal fans taking part in NBA All-Star 2024 in Indianapolis.”
Lopez said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will visit during the closing ceremonies.