CHICAGO (WISH) — Saturday of NBA All-Star Weekend means it is time to make your entrance. Not for a game, a practice or a red carpet appearance but the most congested interviews of the year.
Chicago’s Wintrust Arena, home to DePaul men’s basketball, turned into a sea of reporters Saturday afternoon with questions that work best when shouted.
LeBron James arrived to his 16th appearance in the NBA’s annual showcase game to the loudest roar: Hail to the king.
Pacers first-time All-Star Forward Domantas Sabonis made one of the more peaceful greetings, but the mayhem of the weekend is starting to descend on the 23-year-old.
Has Sabonis had a crazier weekend in his life?
“In a different sense, yes, but like this…no,” Sabonis laughed.
From sixth man to one of the top 24 players in the world? In under 60 games, Sabonis’ 2020 All-Star odds went from long shot to shoo-in.
“It is a dream being here with all of these players,” Sabonis said. “I was just in the locker room with all of the guys, all of these All-Stars there with you. I am just sitting there, enjoying the experience.”
Sabonis gets his warm-up in with Team LeBron on Saturday.
Does anyone on this floor remember the rookie who averaged just 5 points in Oklahoma City? The “bonus” piece of the Victor Oladipo-Paul George swap? This weekend, Chicago and the rest of the NBA’s elite gave a warm welcome to Indiana’s blue-collar star.
“The Pacers trusted in me to come here and lead the team,” Sabonis said. “To be a better player and just be myself. I am just trying to take advantage of that and enjoy the ride.”
Sabonis’ first All-Star experience so far? No sleep, shuttling around the city and a ton of sushi.