In a city that reaches 4,265 feet in elevation, the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend reached new heights.

NBA All-Stars, fans, and Legends alike headed to the west to the mountains for a weekend full of star-studded reunions, parties, and displays of NBA excellence, culminating in the highly anticipated 72nd NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena.

In its 76th season, the brotherhood of the National Basketball Association steadily grows and strengths with every passing year, as do the unbreakable familial ties of former players of the game.

Like every NBA All-Star Weekend, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) creates an oasis for NBA Legends –– as well as former players in the ABA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters –– to gather for what many would agree is the tallest annual family reunion in the US.

This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend tipped off on Friday, February 17 at the beautiful Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown with the highly anticipated opening of the NBRPA’s Legends Lounge adjacent to the hotel lobby. Basketball greats from around the world enjoyed the hospitality of the Legends Lounge in a space that was as private and intimate as the locker rooms and team flights during their playing days. Included in the Legends Lounge was, as always, a half court where Legends never miss the chance to talk some smack and re-live old rivalries and teammate connections alike both on and off the court.

Adjacent to the Legends Lounge was the Legends Media Day, the central hub for all US and international media to conduct interviews, record podcasts, and disseminate the timeless stories of NBA Legends. This year’s Legends Media Day resulted in over 1,200 placements that reached an audience of over 850 million NBA fans around the world. Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, and so many other recognizable media faces spent the afternoon curating countless legendary conversations.

Later in the day, the Legends Lounge closed to create a private media room for two of the greatest to ever play in the NBA –– Allen Iverson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In partnership with the NBRPA, these Legends dedicated their afternoons to speaking with select media outlets to share never-before-told stories and perspectives on their careers and today’s game. Marc Spears and Howard Megdal sat down for intimate interviews with “The Answer” while reporters from ClutchPoints, USA Today and The Athletic transcribed insights from “The Captain,” including his perspective on LeBron James passing his long-held all-time NBA points record.

On Friday night, as the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and Jordan Rising Stars Game were captivating NBA fans, NBRPA members, guests, and partners got the weekend’s nighttime festivities started with the Tip-Off Party at Soundwell.

In the spirit of honoring Utah Jazz Legends, the NBRPA teamed up with Karl Malone and several of his brands –– including his La Aurora cigars, E. León Jimenes rum, and Trinity vodka –– to host the Tip-Off Party and celebrate Salt Lake City just a few blocks from his former home arena for the majority of his remarkable NBA career.

Saturday morning began as always with the crucial Health Screenings program. Previously managed in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the NBRPA now solely operates these Health Screenings in large part due to the expertise of the NBRPA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joe Rogowski.

NBA Legend and Turner Sports analyst Steve Smith was the first to receive his Health Screening on Saturday morning. “I went through everything, and just want to encourage more retired players, and all of us, to take our health seriously. We need it, and I’m definitely going to take it a little more serious,” said Smith on NBA TV later that day.

Saturday afternoon continued with more reunions and storytelling in the Legends Lounge, followed by the NBA HBCU Classic between Grambling State and Southern University, with Willis Reed and Bob Love serving as the honorary captains for each of their alma maters.

The 2022-2023 Class of Legends HBCU Scholars, who the NBRPA had the honor of hosting throughout the weekend, attended the game and had a blast cheering on the HBCUs participating.

As the sun set over the mountains in Salt Lake, the city continued its weekend of hoops action as Legends gathered for a Players Party at Flanker Kitchen + Sporting Club to watch the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard bested the Pacers duo of Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton in the final round to win the Starry 3-Point Content crown. The excitement continued with a dominating performance by Mac McClung, propelling him to a decisive win in the AT&T Slam Dunk content. Renowned rapper G-Eazy, who spent the night mingling with some of his favorite former NBA players at the NBRPA Players Party, remarked that due to McClung’s thrilling showmanship that night, “The Dunk Contest is back!”

Sunday morning brought, for many Legends and fans alike, the highlight of NBA All-Star Weekend –– the 23rd Annual Legends Brunch. Like in years past, the most notable names of the NBA world gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center for a morning dedicated to honoring impactful players and dignitaries of the game and paying tribute to the Legends who have passed over the last year, which was done beautifully with a slideshow and a moving musical performance by Utah Jazz Legend Thurl Bailey.

As part of the program –– hosted once again by Ernie Johnson –– Pau Gasol received the first Bob Lanier Community Service Award, John Stockton received the Hometown Hero Award, and Karl Malone received the Legend of the Year Award. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio, and NBRPA President & CEO Scott Rochelle shared remarks throughout the Legends Brunch highlighting the rich history and promising future of the league. Jaylen Brown, Grant Hill, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar paid tribute to the late Bill Russell and his lasting impact on the game of basketball and the world.

Sunday evening led to the culmination of the weekend’s events with the 72nd annual NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena. After a pre-game draft to Team Giannis or Team LeBron, the stars of the league put on a show for the Legends seated courtside and throughout the sold-out arena. Jayson Tatum scored a record-breaking 55 points, earning the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.

With each new city and roster of NBA All-Stars, one thing remains the same: the love for the game and the eternal bond that NBA players past and present will always share. At the end of the day, the spectacle of 3-pointers, dunks, and buzzer beaters will always add to the magic of NBA All-Star Weekend, but the relationships between teammates and the legacies they leave truly make this annual celebration unlike any other.

From the picturesque backdrop of the Utah mountains to all the beautiful new memories made, the NBA All-Star Weekend 2023 was truly one for the books. And now, on to the next: Indianapolis in 2024!