Baller's Ball

It's All-Star Weekend, and since your courtside tickets probably got lost in the mail (ours did), you're no doubt looking for a way to be part of the action. And as any true balla knows, hoops are only part of the All-Star Weekend. There's plenty of partying, celebrity stalking, and seeing and being seen to go around. We've got some choice spots for you to make your stop. Just be sure you take a page outta Kanye's book and come up in the spot looking extra fly.

The Meridian (1503 Chartres) is a one-stop shop for all things All-Star, as the venue's playing host to b-ball's wunderkind with the LeBron James & Friends All-Star Weekend Explosion. Things get going on Thursday, February 16, with the "Jump Off," featuring performances by Slim Thug and Mike Jones. And today, A-listers will chill at the LeBron James All-Star Weekend VIP party, where Keyshia Cole will provide the tunes. (For information, call 713-225-1717 or visit Prices vary.)

Looking stylish all weekend will be easy if you hit up Sports Wrap in the Sharpstown Mall, where Phat Farm founder Russell Simmons will be celebrating the launch of his new Country Club Sneakers. He'll be talking up the shoe, signing autographs and hearing from the people. (5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sports Wrap, 208 Sharpstown Center, 713-777-3314).

With your new kicks, it's time for a night out on the town. While most of these events are VIP and oh-so-exclusive, it's definitely possible to get in, especially if you're dropping Hamiltons like Aaron Burr (or Franklins like lightning). You can never go wrong with Michael Jordan, and the man himself is headlining his Air Jordan XXI Launch Party, where "top-tier personalities" will be chilling with John Legend, Fat Joe and Jadakiss downtown. The night features an auction of tons of signed Jordan merch, including Air Jordan Retro XIs that actually graced the man's feet. Sneakerheads take note. (1001 McKinney Building).

At The Wedge (1415 Louisiana), basketball's biggest man, Shaquille O'Neal, is hosting "Cash, Cars and Stars." DJ Cut Creator (LL Cool J's former mixman) and Def Jam Blaster will provide the tracks for this party, which promises some serious celeb views. We also like that Shaq actually shows up to his parties. (For information, call 800-830-2194 or visit Former Rocket and current Orlando Magic guard Steve Francis will be hanging with NBA players like Cuttino Mobley, Chauncey Billups and Sam Cassell at the Baller's Masquerade at Paraiso Maravilla (5714 Fairdale). For information, call 713-334-4225.

Oh, and if you're actually into the game, there's a chance to see the NBA's future superstars at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge at the Toyota Center (1510 Polk). For information, visit
Fri., Feb. 17

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.