Los Angeles and New York are rife with celebrities. Houston? Well, not so much.
That makes the celebrity-magnet NBA All-Star Weekend the perfect time for stargazing.
It’s four days jammed with parties, lunches, golf tournaments, concerts and countless photo ops.
Official All-Star performers include Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ne-Yo, Ludacris, Ke$ha, Fall Out Boy, B.o.B., Ellie Goulding and Phillip Phillips.
Friday's All-Star Celebrity Game also welcomes some A-(to-Z)listers, including Queen Latifah, Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, TV personality Samantha Harris, and Kevin Hart and Nick Cannon of “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”
Also hitting town for concerts will be Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, and Scarface. And, if you’re to believe the nightclub flyers, the visiting hip-hop royalty will include Diddy, Chris Brown, Nas, A$AP Rocky, Trinidad James and a dozen courtiers.
Oh, and have we mentioned the players? You won’t be able to swing a cat inside without hitting a past or present National Basketball Association player.
The NBA wives will be holding court at a Black & White Gala (just $500 a ticket) Friday at the Omni Hotel, NBA mothers will be honored at a luncheon Friday at the Houstonian and NBA fathers will be discussing parenting at a forum Saturday at the Houston Community College NE campus. Members of the National Basketball Retired Players Association are participating in a golf tournament Thursday at the Redstone Club in Humble, and they’ll be walking the red carpet Saturday night at a party dubbed “Night of a Thousand Stars.”
The aforementioned are mostly ticketed affairs. The weekend will be filled with invitation-only parties, including those hosted by NBA sponsors and partners, such as Adidas, Nike and TNT. And the hottest invite this weekend would have to be entrée to Hall of Famer (and underwear pitchman) Michael Jordan’s birthday party Saturday.
We’re certainly not promoting stalking, but if a close encounter or an autograph are what you seek during this NBA media-feeding frenzy, here are five spots we see as star magnets:
The Galleria: With a past customer list that includes Beyoncé, Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten and Britney Spears, Houston’s glitziest shopping center is a no-brainer. And hint: basketball players are tall.
The steakhouses: For All-Star Weekend, best bets are nationally known, top-drawer steakhouses such as Del Frisco’s Double Eagle in the Galleria, Mo’s: A Place for Steaks, Morton’s and Sullivan’s. Vic & Anthony’s location near the Toyota Center and the George R. Brown — ground-zero for the All-Star festivities — makes it ago-to place, too.
The dohs: Would-be Valentine’s diners learned weeks ago that RDG and Philippe, the posh book-end restaurants/lounges on tony Post Oak Boulevard, would be closed for private parties. Philippe is booked on Friday while RDG is booked Saturday and Sunday nights.
The “it” restaurants: There are plenty of gourmands among the sports-star ranks, so we’re betting that top-rated Uchi and Underbelly, both of which have received national attention — will see some All-Star action.
The old guard: While the young stars of the NBA may be drawn to shiny spots such as Katsuya, NBA legends and coaches most likely will head to longtime favorites like Tony’s, Damian’s and Da Marco’s.
Spot a celebrity? Tweet where you saw them and, if possible, a photo using #NBAAllStar. The Chronicle will be featuring these tweets online at www.chron.com.