DALLAS — One event that’s becoming an annual NBA All-Star weekend tradition is the “Two Kings Dinner & Afterparty ,” hosted by Jay-Z and Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James and sponsored this year by Bing and Sprite. As much as it is a celebration, the event is also a way for executives and stars from all worlds to meet and share ideas. At Saturday night’s fourth incarnation of the event, Cortez Bryant (who manages Lil Wayne and Drake) was seen sitting down with people like New Orleans Hornet Chris Paul and even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
“You do have a time in your life when you can hang out or recognize someone who has risen above the norm — significantly above it,” Jones said. “Jay-Z has done that in entertainment. LeBron is about that in sports and basketball. You transcend your game, so to speak. They represent that. It’s a privilege to be on the team with them tonight and be a part of the celebration.”
Along with Jones, the event was attended by Chris Tucker, Magic Johnson, New Jersey Nets President Rod Thorn, NBA All-Stars such as Paul and Jason Kidd, and various executives from Fortune-500 companies.
“You’re talking about two of the best in what they do: The best rapper/entrepreneur in Jay-Z, and the best player in the game with LeBron James ” said Kidd, of the hometown Dallas Mavericks, on the event’s red carpet. “You put those two together, you’re gonna have a great party. To be able to support those guys and is a great honor.”
Diddy, a friend of both “Kings,” echoed the sentiment that Jay and LeBron represent the best of both worlds.
“It’s the perfect combination of sports and entertainment,” Diddy declared. “Showing ways we can work together. Use our power in a positive way. They’re both kings in what they do and they’re combining forces. As entrepreneurs and young kings and queens, we’ve got to do more for the better of other people. I’m here as a king to support it.”
Before the event, Jay and LeBron spent the early part of the day in the community.
“We went to the Boys & Girls Club, gave them some scholarships,” Jay-Z explained. “I think it’s important for us, where we come from, to inspire people from the same neighborhood, same struggle as us, just so they know it’s possible. We’re living our dreams. So dreams are possible, but it’s hard work. We can be president of the United States, but everyone can’t do it. It’s a very difficult thing. [But we’re aiming] just to show these things are attainable.”
“It’s all about commitment if you want to become something,” James concurred on the event’s red carpet. “It’s not easy — in no way, shape or form. You’ve got to commit to it.”
Jay-Z said that it’s very necessary for young people to get an opportunity not to just see him on TV, but actually hear some of the story in person.
“I never had these sort of role models growing up,” Jay said. “I never had anyone come around and talk to me. I had to figure it out on my own. One of my promises to myself is that I’ll never forget my journey. I’ll always give back and speak to people that are going through the same thing I was going through.”