“Being here tonight at All-Star Gospel Celebration was something I needed to do. I have deep talks with many Chaplains. I’ve been in the league for five years and haven’t missed a chapel yet.” - Utah Jazz Player, Collin Sexton.
SALT LAKE CITY (PRWEB) February 22, 2023
The 16th annual All-Star Gospel Celebration (ASGC) kicked off the NBA All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah Thursday, February 16th honoring NBA players, legends and coaches, sports figures, and community leaders with surprise special guests political activist, Jesse Jackson and Cleveland Cavaliers guard and 2023 NBA All-Star Player Donovan Mitchell.
ASGC is the official inspirational event during NBA All-Star Weekend. This year’s theme was “Faith and Philanthropy.”
The 2023 Slam Dunk award honorees included Utah Jazz player Collin Sexton, Utah Jazz Sports Announcer/Former NBA Player Thurl Bailey, Tesla Executive/Community Leader Carlyon Hayden-Garner, Utah’s own NBA Coach Johnnie Bryant, former NBA player Ronnie Price, and NFL Sports Analyst Steve Smith, Sr.
Three-time NBA All-Star host Jacinda Jacobs and NBA Veteran and former National Basketball Players Association Vice-President Maurice “Mo” Evans hosted the “sweet sixteen” event created by executive producer, Tomeka B Holyfield. While National Basketball Wives Association Committee Chair, Dru Evans, hosted the red carpet.
The first award was given to coach Johnnie Bryant who stated, “What Tomeka is doing is amazing. Continue to impact lives across the world in your unique way.” He was then surprised by Cleveland Cavaliers guard and 2023 NBA All-Star player Donovan Mitchell who said, “Johnnie Bryant is a friend and brother I can count on. We’ve grown together and I appreciate you.”
Thurl Bailey, also known as ‘Big T’ who received the ‘Living Legend’ award gave a heartfelt speech reminding the audience to never forget where they come from and thanked Ms. Holyfield for what she is doing. He humbly stated, “I’m honored to be here.”
The event recognized NBA Chaplains for their relentless faith and their continued support and prayers for NBA players and brought together members of the NBA Chaplain’s Association, NBA Wives Association, NBA players, their families, and local fans in one arena for one night of inspirational praise and philanthropy.
The ultimate surprise was Reverend Jesse Jackson attending the event. He shared a few words and started by saying, “This is God’s world and He is everywhere.” He joked about how NBA players did not decide to be 6’ 10” one day and play basketball, explaining that God is in control.
The last award went to Utah Jazz Player Collin Sexton who received the Slam Dunk ‘Off-The-Court’ Award for his philanthropic efforts. Who believes that ‘service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.’ “Being here tonight was something I needed to do,” exclaimed Collin. “I have deep talks with many Chaplains. I’ve been in the league five years and haven’t missed a chapel yet.” He added, “I am thankful for what I have before it turns into what I had.”
Utah Jazz NBA Chaplain Pastor Corey Hodges, who also received an award, opened his doors as the venue host and welcomed performances by Grammy® award nominated Zacardi Cortez, inspirational singer, writer, and producer, Anthony Hall, and Christian rap artists Antwoine Hill and Emcee N.I.C.E.
The "Sweet Sixteen" celebration in honor of 16 years ended with a VIP-post reception catered by Blake's Gourmet Catering, and Decor by FUSE by Mara Mazdzer.
This event also raised funds to benefit domestic violence victims, underprivileged children, breast cancer awareness, and help fight sickle cell through the “BE THE MATCH” movement through The HELPPPPing Hands Foundation. 501 (c) 3.
Past notable honorees and celebrities in attendance have included Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas, Coach Avery Johnson, TV personality, Star Jones, Cookie Johnson, actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph, actor/comedian, Chris Tucker, four-time Grammy® Award-winning gospel artist Yolanda Adams, seven-time Grammy® Award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin, Stellar Award-winning gospel saxophonist Angella Christie, comedian, Jonathan Slocumb, music mogul/producer, Rodney “Dark Child” Jerkins, Martin Luther King III, Pastor Paula White, Dr. Jamal Bryant, CNN/TV One’s Roland Martin, Radio-One/TV One founder, Cathy Hughes, NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady and more.
For more information, visit http://www.allstargospelcelebration.com
Founded in 2005, and first held during the 2006 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston, TX, Creator/Founder Tomeka B. Holyfield, had the vision to merge the Christian community and sports community during the NBA All-Star Weekend Festivities! ASGC was created to Glorify God amidst the Glitz, Glamour, and Games “kicking off” NBA All-Star Weekend.