As I hopped on the plane at Burbank airport, I couldn't help but to hear Easton's Voice in my head, "You're a star, don't ask for anything, just command it."
Day 1 of All Star Weekend started early for me. I was adamant about networking and making things happen, regardless of the promises that people made to help me get interviews and connect me with the whose who of the sports world. I decided that no matter what I was going to enjoy myself. I linked up with my friend and we went over to Roc Nation. There was a young guy named ... well we will just name him John Doe, John Doe was quite the character. He boasted of his dating adventures and Valentine's Day shenanigans but I was moreso intrigued by the way he carried himself. He was full of life, much like I had been prior to Easton passing away. I longed to have his energy and passion. He began to discuss his plans to launch this media site and the evolution of music. He spoke about his rise in the entertainment industry and creating his own way. For once, I decided not to talk but just listen and become a student of my craft. I was inspired standing in a room with 6 young men, all under the age of 35, making moves in the entertainment industry. They all got their jobs by working hard and creating opportunity for themselves. I was also hyped over the Beyoncé and Rihanna plaques that live on the walls of Roc Nation. As I departed, I made myself a promise that I would be back to collaborate with Roc Nation not only for my own projects, but to bring Eastons music in. I speak of him a lot and I do everything with him in mind because I don't want to let him die. I think of life as a sport and alongside God, I believe that he is one of my coaches.
Day 2, let the all star festivities begin! The people start to pour in and the city is filled with traffic, I'm talking $100 Uber surges and pop up experiences everywhere. This weekend is not only All Star for athletes, but it s huge for every brand that wants to have some type of cultural relevance. I took an Uber to DTLA from Whittier, where I was staying with my best girlfriend Cheri. The first space that I went to was RSVP Gallery, I had to support Chicago legend Don C. Upon arrival, there was an insane line of since the Migos were set to show up. The merch was cool, but the actual set up of the space added to the vibe. The space was curated with vintage lighting signs, NBA archives, and Louis Vuitton. RSVP always knows how to create cool spaces that bring in a wide range of consumers. I lollygagged in the space until I finally decided the Migos were not worth missing Kobe speak at the Nike pop up space. I dipped and headed over to Mateo street. It should be noted that this maker studio/ Q & A was for high school students, but I had to finesse my way in. So I texted my girl like "listen, I need to see Kobe" , she said "say no more" and I walked in as soon as the MC began announcing the event. I wish I could've hosted as well, theres always next year right? He introduces Jalen Rose and of course Rose comes out filled with energy and a great smile ( I wish I had his teeth). Then, baaaaaaaaam Kobe comes out. I instantly feel a certain sense of belonging like sport really has saved my life and empowered me. When I was feeling down, seeing and being amongst basketball legends was like an asthma pump while wheezing. So back to the story, Kobe comes out and begins to drop dimes.At this point I am completely tapped out of the world. I'm thinking of future projects and how to make things happen. I begin coming up with my game plan, mamba mentality. After he wrapped up his Q & A, I tried to get a picture but these high school kids weren't going, I mean I was steps literally steps away from Kobe and not only did they knock me over, but they stepped on my shoes! My brand new Explorer 1s that weren't even coming out until the next day- ruthless. I looked up and saw the smiles on their faces and I thought to myself I can't even say anything I finessed my way in here. As I was exiting, I saw a few friends and they were like Bri you totally should've hosted an event this weekend and that was my signal like yoooooooooooo Briyoncé is getting requested to host in LA. I walked over to check out DBM pop up experience and then went to the Jordan space.
Day 3, Let me just say this now, the Jordan West team did their thing. I mean they took customization to the next level, custom Don C Fannie packs and shorts and hoodies.... Jesus take the wheel. That's not even the best part, they collaborated with Interscope to create music studios where athletes and fans could record songs, hence the name of the space Studio 23. Sometimes I'm just in awe at the things that people come up with. Following this, I decided to pop up at Cappie's (WNBA player for the LA Sparks) dinner for women in Sports. To be honest, I was just pulling up to say hi to Cappie and link with my girl who was at the dinner, but when I arrived I was stormed with love. Cappie instantly snatched me introduced me to the dinner table as Easton's love. She talked about how she met him at Soho house and they ended up talking for 5 hours and he had changed her life and made her think deeper. Easton had also bragged about how he knew Cappie and they made plans to connect and collaborate on some future projects. Cappie began to cry and speak about how powerful Easton was and how one conversation changed her life and as she finally got to know him, he had passed away right after, she even referred to him as her real friend. I have been numb to pain, sometimes i cry and other days I freeze up. I didn't know how to console her because I was in awe that she had so much love for him. After all, it was a dinner celebrating her and selflessly she decided to celebrate Easton and embrace me. I began to think, it's ok that I didn't;t get all the interviews that I wanted. This trip was moreso for me to find a deeper purpose, obviously Easton had fulfilled his in such a short time span. I thought of my kids that I connect with on a regular bases and thought I need to make sure they are good. All the women at the table gave me so much love and admiration for my strength. I felt joyous that even Cappie and others are keeping Easton alive. I love hearing his name, but reality strikes and like Cinderella ran when the clock struck twelve, I dashed to the bathroom. I need to cry alone, I looked up in the mirror and began to coach myself. I am strong, I am a conquerer, I am here with purpose, and Easton is with me, love never dies, fix your crown, God guide my feet and protect may heart, I need you, I need you please. I fix my makeup and chuckle, at the fact that my mascara is really waterproof. I return to the dinner and began to connect with some of the most incredible women that I have ever met. Sports medicine doctors, trainers, and even a neurosurgeon, talk about girl power. And the food, my goodness I wasn't even hungry, yet I went for seconds and thirds. I hope they forgave me for slamming the vegan pasta. I hug Cappie and take a few photos, her hug felt so warm and loving. I'm so glad that I attended the dinner. I head out and attempt to attend the Jordan Party. This event is the showstopper of all showstoppers and regardless of who you are, it should be duly noted that you will wait outside in line unless you are MJ himself. I saw lots of celebrities waiting outside, I won't name drop, but I was like if I get in before them, I am the finesser of all finessers. I feel like I could've got in, but the thirst was at an all time high (as it should be). I'm talking about people chasing the sprinters that transported everyone to this private mansion in the hills. I wasn't in the mood for anymore, although the instagram posts had me feeling a little FOMO. I was still moved by the dinner that I had attended and I needed more authentic vibes so I decided to pull up to the Nike party at dream and let's just say it was like a family reunion on the rooftop with a pool and a view that would make anyone fall in love. As day 3 came to a close I was excited to get day 4 poppin!
Day 4, started out dark, panic attacks in the morning. Mental health is important. I wanted to calm down and be happy but my heart was hurting. All of the joy and excitement I had experienced, I wanted to call Easton and tell him. He was truly my biggest supporter and toughest critic. I wanted to share every detail with him, he would yell at me, "Bri, you're your own brand, you're Ballinois Bri, you have to make things happen for you, you're your own brand, you have aspirations bigger than big, you have a special calling, do more do more and it's ok because people support you." I wanted to tell him that I was doing more and that I'm beginning to understand my power, but as I went to pick up my phone, it hit me like a dodgeball in the face, he was not going to answer nor call and this would be my reality forever. It's painful, how special is it to have someone love you so much that they hold you accountable for your own hopes and dreams and push you to see the best in yourself, man my coach, I miss that guy. So I got on Instagram because social media is an escape sometimes and I can go to his page and laugh at his posts while on Instagram I got a message from my co worker and she invited me to join her and attend all the brand events. At first I thought, nah I don't want to be bothered today. But then I thought we haven't gotten a chance to truly know one another and she has had me host quite a few Nike events so I was like this could be cool to connect with a hard working woman in the sports industry. I eagerly texted her and said let's roll. Well, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. On my ride to meet her at revolve, she texted me and said hey, I got us two tickets to the NBA All Star dunk contest. I texted her like whhhhaaaaat I'm so happy and though I was very happy I cried, but this time it was tears of joy. I've watched the All Star game faithfully since childhood and this time I would be sitting in the arena watching it. I was soooo amped I told the Uber driver like yoooo we need to put a move on it! Finally, I pulled up and we went to revolve. They had curated a space for the 1s reimagined collection that jordan brand dropped specifically for women, each shoe was named after a different personality, which I thought was super clever especially the way we brought it to life via social media & at brand spaces, finally a shoe that truly celebrated women.. After revolve, we went to Levi's x Just Don BBQ, this place was popping. I walked in and Warren G was on the grill, the beans were fire might I add. Don had created some incredible pieces per usual & im so proud to see chicagos influence speak across the world. I truly believe we bred the best of the best. It should be noted that my fit was fire and my shorts were made by Easton so I felt overjoyed that I was going to not only get a fit off but a fit made with love by my love and I was seeing so many people. Matt Barnes and many other were in attendance at this BBQ including DJ snoop Dogg who I had just missed spinning. We leave the BBQ and hurry along to the all star game. During our ride to the all star game we conversed about my goals and career. I got some great insight from her. There's something powerful about women embracing and aligning with one another. I felt like I had really bonded with her and I just couldn't stop thanking her for taking me to the game so it's dunk contest time and I'm all in. Dennis Smith goes up for a nasty 360 under the leg one hand dunk and I go craaaaaaaaaaaazy then my mind went blank because larry nance comes out the gate with these incredible dunks and all I could think about was how insane his arm extensions were he advances and so does Donovan, Donovan warms my heart with this family time dunk where he brings out his sister, Kevin hart and Kevin's son. I instantly think of my little brother and how insane he's going to be as he evolves as an athlete and just the love I have for my whole family, they are my rock and actually the reason that I'm into sports entertainment and media. But man oh man, Larry nance bounces the ball off the backboard and dunks and I'm out my seat at this point, the nachos are down. I'm stoked!!!! I'm like a kid in the candy store, this is what makes my heartbeat again, this is my inhaler, this is extra cheese on my nachos for free.... basketball! The dunk contest winner ended up being Donovan but as a former dance minor, larry nance stole my heart with the arm extensions. I'm still geeked at this point & I'mm thinking Allstar was so fun but LA fans acted to cool to cheer which is why I can't wait for all star 2020 in chicago aka all star at the Madhouse on Madison baby, I'm definitely going to host in 2020. Mark my words! We leave and hop in another uber, my tab ended up being $500 by the end of the weekend, they should employ me (rolls eyes). We stopped by the Jordan space again and can I just say I work with he greatest team in the world? I pull up and my friend yells " Yo Bri, we've got tacos in the back". My friend came through with the plug and called up the taco man to make tacos in the alley behind the brand space. These were the greatest tacos that I've ever had! Not to mention, the vibes from my team were incredible we just laughed while eating good food. I mean how could you be all uptight and professional while eating tacos in an alley? I was exhausted but I decided I had room for one more adventure so we head back to another activation and this is where the night goes completely up! Ran into my girl Jewell Loyd, whose mother was myself and all of my siblings English teach and mentor. We took pictures and talked briefly and then it was showtime. Sabrina Claudio performed, then H.E.R.., she even sang me and Easton favorite song best part and I instantly felt like this man is definitely with me, how am I doing so many things and aligning with so many people, how do I have the strength to maneuver, felt like I had recovered from a tore acl, but anyways to cap the night off Kendrick Lamar comes out and he had an insane performance. This man is so talented that I stopped jumping around during the concert and decided to listen to the words. My dog gets real deep and during his Q & A earlier in the day which I failed to mention, he said that women are the true creators of all things including life. I am hurting and I feel like Jordan when he played in the championship the year that his dad died. I am the creator of my future and I have to see it breathe it believe it and Eastons death is not the end of me, him, or us, but it's the beginning of something new in which I slightly fear but also have faith that everything is going to be alright. I didn't get to do any of the interviews that I wanted, but during this trip I created relationships that will help me in the future and more importantly I created a new found respect for simply being a student of my craft and learning. With that being said, I'm about to suit up and play my in this game called life and I will be an allstar and i will make an impact on life. Cheer me on and keep up with me at Ballinois.com
P.S. I ended up in the recap video with Kobe, God's Plan!