CHICAGO (CBS) — It has been 32 years since Chicago hosted the NBA All-Star Game – but this weekend, it’s back.
Beginning on Thursday, many events are happening around the city in conjunction with All-Star Weekend. CBS 2’s Jermont Terry gave us a preview Wednesday of an effort designed to bridge a huge gap by bringing the players’ fathers to talk to teens. That event is happening on Thursday.
The banners decked the United Center Wednesday night as Chicago prepared to roll out the red carpet for the NBA All-Star events. Thousands will flock to the city, but the reality for many who live here is that they will only look from afar.
“I wish I could be there,” said high school sophomore Marquel Saleek. “That’s going to be going through my mind the whole time I’m watching.”
“It’s a little disheartening,” added Junaid Oladipo. “It’s this close. When the next time it’ll be in Chicago?”
Yet for Saleek and Oladipo, who attend Proviso Mathematics & and Science Academy in Forest Park, love of the game won’t get them to any All-Star events.
“I checked out the tickets,” Oladipo said. “I don’t got that money.”
But it just so happens that they haven’t fouled out with every All-Star option.
Charles Paul, the father of NBA star Chris Paul, was in Chicago this week connecting with the teens.
What is it all about?
“It’s bigger than basketball,” Paul said.
The Fathers and Men of Professional Basketball Players and the Rise 2 Impact organizations combined to bring the Male Youth Summit to the University of Illinois at Chicago, to host 300 students across the city.
“We want the kids to learn that it’s more than basketball, even though basketball has brought us to this point,” Paul said.
“What we find through the research – many young boys want to be like those they see, but they have to be able to get access to those role models,” added Chance Lewis, Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Charles Paul tried to get the Saleek and Oladipo access to one of those role models – and called Chris Paul on the phone while Terry and our cameras watched.
Chris Paul didn’t answer right away, but he did.
“Don’t let someone tell you you can’t do it,” the Oklahoma City Thunder star said. “My dad always talked about paying it forward. I’m glad that if I can’t get there out telling you guys about it myself, my dad can.”
Saleek and Oladipo prepared for the Male Youth Summit with a message they’ll never forget about life.
“Keep striving,” Oladipo said. “Don’t let that dream go away from you.”
Three hundred young men will get motivated and hopefully inspired to follow their dreams at the Youth Summit. Terry is told some more surprises are expected for them too.
The One Court All-Star Male Youth Summit will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at the UIC Student Services Building, 1200 W. Harrison St. The event is sold out.