NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL-TV) – The NBA’s brightest stars are getting ready to shine in New Orleans.
The league’s All-Star game is Sunday in the Smoothie King Arena. While most of the events get underway mid-week, there are already All-Star themed signs hanging downtown.
The Benson Tower on Poydras Street is wrapped in a 26-story message that’s hard to miss. “Equality” is spelled out in bold black and white letters. It’s part of Nike’s powerful new ad campaign unveiled during the Grammy Awards. The commercial points out that the “lines on the field of play are where the dream of fairness and mutual respect lives on.”
The same can be said for lines on the basketball court at A.L. Davis Park in the Central City neighborhood and students at the nearby Kipp Academy.
“Equality means to love and respect everybody, no matter the gender or race they are,” student Demi Howard said.
“Equality means when you’re being different and you find that common ground to bring us together,” student Tyrese Johnson said.
You can see the “Equality” sign from the Guste Public Housing Development. Neighbors call it an appropriate message in a part of town with more than its share of violence.
“Don’t worry about the color of your skin, we’re all God’s children,” said Nareka Butler. “We’re all supposed to get a long and be happy.That;s a beautiful thing to me.”
“Equality is somebody respecting each other and learning how to live together and being together,” Florence Daniels said.
“Equality does mean accepting everybody for who and what they are,” Gye Noel said. “Even in my neighborhood, at one time it was basically black, African-American, but now when have multiple cultures in the neighborhood.”
People walking by the sign downtown also weighed in on the topic of equality.
“I think that equality is a really important word, particularly in today’s political climate,” Alana Carstens said. “For me, equality has a lot more to do with the opportunities that people receive and what we have access to.”
“When I think of equality, just with all the news that going on right now, definitely with Black Live Matters, things like that,” Matt Horton said. “I guess thing that comes to my mind is racial equality.”
Some people have also interpreted “Equality” to mean non-discrimination for those in the LGBT community.
The NBA All Star game was supposed to be played in Charlotte this year.
But New Orleans got the game after North Carolina passed the so-called bathroom bill, blocking transgender people from using certain bathrooms.
Back on the court at A.L. Davis, some parting words of wisdom from KIPP Central City Academy students.
“Some people are special, just have patience with them, have patience and respect them for who they are,” Demi Howard said.
“I experienced (equality) through basketball because I’ve played against every different kind of race the ball bounces the same for every race,” Tyrese Johnson said.