It’s been 10 years since Griffin caught a Baron Davis lob and leaped over the hood of this car in the 2011 dunk contest, but neither the silver Sharpie ink on the horn nor the black ink of Griffin’s signature near the driver’s door has faded. Longa has been driving the car since roughly 2015 and says it’s still in good condition. It has just under 89,000 miles on it and gets about 26 miles per gallon in the city. Longa is sure the value of the car is substantial—a normal 2011 Optima that hasn’t had an NBA player dunk over it could fetch anywhere between $3,000 and $11,000 today. But he is content with never finding out what his is worth. “It’s kind of my dream car,” Longa said. “I’m crazy, I’m still in love with the car.”
Primeaux ultimately paid $35,220 (well above market value) for the car, which was promptly delivered to his dealership. There, he immediately began not just displaying it, but also marketing his business around it. Primeaux made posters and advertisements featuring the car and the dunk. He allowed people to come to the dealership just to see the vehicle and even created giveaways around the car and the legend of the dunk. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the Optima, and the business, he says, more than benefited from it. “This is no BS, I would say it was invaluable,” Primeaux said. “I couldn’t measure it, but I got [the $35,220] 10 times from it.”
Michele Roberts: The things I can control have been communicated to the players and they’ve made decisions. So let me start with the All-Star game: no control. All-Star is something that’s within the complete discretion of the league. It is not something that the union can veto or otherwise prohibit. Once the decision is made to have the game, we can certainly engage in the conditions of play. But the decision to hold the All-Star game, to have All-Star weekend, we had no role in that. And if the players didn’t understand that, they certainly were made to understand it by me and others. It’s not our call. So all the b—hing about the game—call Adam, because I had nothing to do with this. They didn’t want to play. They wanted a break, but it wasn’t our call. So I just wanted to make sure that the conditions under which they would play were going to be safe.
The Jump: Reaction to missing All-Star game because of quarantine? “It was stressful. It wasn’t good for my mental [health]. I stayed off social media” – @Ben Simmons #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #HereTheyCome
All-Star weekend? That was Welts’s idea. The original Dream Team? Welts marketed it. The WNBA? Welts helped launch it. The game’s global influence? Welts had a hand there, too, before lending his leadership to the Suns (during the seven-seconds-or-less era) and for the last 10 years, the light-years-ahead Warriors. “He’ll go down as—he already is—one of the most influential sports executives of the last five decades,” Silver told Sports Illustrated. “He transformed this league.”
All-Star weekend was, Welts said, “the gift that kept on giving, in our industry and in my career,” and the first highlight that he always lists. But the most important thing he’s ever done, Welts says, was his decision to come out in 2011, in a New York Times story. At the time, Welts was the highest-ranking openly gay executive in sports. He still is today, which says something about the industry. But that story changed Welts’s life and created a bridge to others who were struggling with the decision. Welts says he’s heard from hundreds of people seeking his counsel over the last 10 years. “There isn’t a week that goes by that someone doesn’t reach out to me from a team or a sports organization or college or whatever, and just want to connect with somebody who will understand their story and could be someone who would have an understanding ear to talk to,” Welts said. “And I cherish that.”
He wasn’t the MVP, but that didn’t stop bidders from pushing a jersey worn by LeBron James to the top of the list in an auction of jerseys worn in this year’s NBA All-Star Game. The #23 shirt donned by the captain of victorious Team LeBron sold for $250,140 in a three-week sale conducted by NBA Auctions. In all, two dozen jerseys worn during the game during the first half of the game in Atlanta brought in more than $600,000.