by Ben Osborne / @bosborne17
photos courtesy of Sportie LA / video by Lyle Mouton
SLAM doesn’t have much of a “party budget,” but we still get approached by folks wanting us to cosign their events all the time. Most don’t warrant a call back, but occasionally we find a winning match. The latest example came when we teamed with Sportie LA, the iconic L.A. sneaker spot, for a weekend-long block party that fully captured All-Star’s unique mix of basketball, celebrity and shoes. SLAM senior writer Nima Zarrabi did a nice piece on the shop, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, in SLAM 146 (still on stands everywhere it hasn’t sold out), and then did a quick piece the day after the block party launched to kick of All-Star Weekend.
As a thank you to the folks that really made the block party happen, and because there are pictures our readers should enjoy, I wanted to run a longer piece of how this came together.
The impetus came from Sportie LA owner Isack Faldon (@sportiela) and Benny Herman (@pozmovement), who does Brand/Image Integration for his company, Pozitive Movement. Isack and Benny were meeting about doing an event at Comic-Con in July when Benny, a huge basketball fan, said, “The NBA All-Star game would be in LA for 2011 why not do an event and incorporate Sportie LA’s storefront?”
Isack agreed. “We have done multiple events in L.A. at the store and this would be a great way to further showcase Sportie LA to all the sneakerheads across the country,” he said.
The two then talked about all the traditional parties that go on during All Star Weekend and knew they wanted to provide a unique and organic experience. It occurred to them that a block party, where friends and visiting sneakerheads could hang and party, was the move. Isack then said, “There is only one magazine that I would like to partner with and that is SLAM.”
Benny and I have talked about events in the past so he knew where to find me. At this point the partnership was born.
I’ll let Benny and Isack’s words explain where they went from there and who else got down with this great concept: “Sportie LA was proud to partner with SLAM Magazine for our first ever All-Star Weekend Block Party to support the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets—a non-profit organization that saves lives by providing nets to combat malaria. The idea for the block party stemmed from the goal to hold a party that captured the spirit of NBA All-Star weekend—when Los Angeles is filled with parties—but to add the element of a good cause behind it and spread the word about Nothing But Nets.
“We were able to capture the fun of All Star weekend by having a mini-basketball court at the back of our party tent. Cheerleaders mingled with party-goers, challenging them to free-throws sponsored by their friends. Many people donated between $1 and $5 dollars per try and added more money when someone made it. Everyone knew that with only $10, you save a life with a net to fight malaria. With the referee and cheerleaders cheering them on, it was a great success and a focal point of the weekend.
“Besides SLAM and Nothing But Nets, Sportie LA got other great sponsors for Block Party Weekend. Each added a dimension to the event which enhanced the fun and enthusiasm and brought people into the party.”
Besides Isack and Mike from Sportie L.A., here’s a list of who else made the weekend-long party happen, as provided by Benny Herman:
Radical Publishing: Set up a video game suite with thee iPads on which guests could play Radical’s newest game, Shrapnel. Party goers were lining up to play and compete for the highest score on the score board and win adidas sneakers. www.radicalpublishing.com/
Ultimate Ears: In 2002 Ultimate Ears expanded into the consumer market. They came out with universal fit, high end earphones using similar dual armature technology that was used in the custom in-ear monitors. Several years later Ultimate Ears introduced a triple armature product called the TripleFi as well as earphones with diaphragm speakers which allowed them to offer lower pricepoints. Today UE offers complete product lines of consumer earphones and custom fit in-ear monitors. Like all earphones the Ultimate Ears consumer monitors require the user to test varying sizes of ear cushions (included with the purchase) in order to achieve the proper fit, ensuring environmentally-friendly noise isolation. www.ultimateears.com
Jarritos: Jarritos has been Mexico’s national soft drink for 60 years. They provided drinks and the DJ’s during the event, as well as branding stations where you could have your pictures taken with the Jarritos girls. Jarritos also provided mixers for the bar. www.jarritos.com
Bolt Barbers: Bolt Barbers is an old-school style barbershop which employs artisan barbers to shave, shine and clean up that beard…and they set up shop in our tent all three days. They were a big draw as just about everyone, including our hostess, Amber Rose, sat down for a free trim. www.boltbarbers.com
Kroll Vodka and Don Azul Tequila: A party isn’t a party without spirits…and Krol and Don Azul kept our spirits high with free drinks for our guests. Our talented bartenders also crafted special Block Party Shots for the occasion. www.krolvodka.com , www.facebook.com/DonAzul
Backstage Artist Lounge: On Friday night we hosted a live music event, and Backstage Artist Lounge got the word out to the media and booked the up-and-coming band, Kinda Major which got the party rocking. www.backstageartistlounge.com
We also had a gifting suite stocked with shoes, apparel, bags, and more that offered our celebrity and VIP guests pieces from companies such as BEARPAW, adidas, Supra, Ed Hardy, Levis Footwear, Pastry, Grenade Clothing and US Continental.
With a launch event hosted by Rick Fox and Amber Rose, our guest list over the weekend included Quinton Aaron, Justin Bieber, Jayson Blair, Alvin Bowen, Michael Copon, Roshon Fegan, Lamonica Garrett, Josh Henderson, Chris Johnson, Bai Ling, Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Malole, Gregory Michael, James Preston, Jensen Reed, Angela Simmons, Mike Sims-Walker, Johnny Strange, Chelsea Traille, Mike Thomas, Laura Wiggins and more.
Please check out a video clip and then a lot more pictures on the ensuing pages!