NBA's All Star Weekend Powered by MLSE and its All Star Workforce



I just read one media outlet’s Top Five moments from this past weekend’s NBA All Star Game hosted by the Toronto Raptors and its parent organization, Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment.  

The Top Five featured:

  • The Dunk Contest which was an amazing display of athleticism which demonstrated clinical planning by each All Star. It also showed incredible creativity, improvisation and the epitome of clutch execution (if you didn’t see the Final Dunkoff by Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, you need to – it may be the only time you’ll see un-exploding hoverboards, dragons and self-levitation come together).

  • Kobe passing the torch after 18 appearances.
  • The 3 Point Shootout between #1 and #2 on the same team (which one is #1 and which one is #2 is anyone’s guess and a fantastic problem to have).
  • A 7 Footer beating a 5 foot 9 guy at the stuff the 5 foot 9 guy should win at. Every. Single. Time.
  • And Paul George, who came up a point short of an All Star Game record for most points even though he’s just worked his way back to fitness after a “hideous injury” wiped out last season.

This WAS an All Star event. And one which, TV-Host-platitudes aside, was anointed by the heavy hitters as possibly the best NBA All Star event of all time.

Wow. And it got me thinking.

When I get my mind beyond the game of Basketball, a game I committed to as a kid and still love, I think about what I saw and its relevance to my job, my world today and the organizations I work with - and I have 2 observations:

First of all, these same Top Five All Star storylines are seen every day in your organization. In delivering your business plan:

  • Your talent is constantly executing, yet being creative to ultimately get the job done.
  • Your talent are ambassadors to your organization, and constantly developing and mentoring others.
  • Your #2, may be your #1. And while they are highly interchangeable (you can lose one and have the backup step in), the power of 2 superstars working together can be greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Your talent is characterized by people who can not only do their own job really well, but they can do many other things/roles/jobs to that same level of high performance. You may want to give them a chance.
  • And finally, when someone’s down or has had a setback, support them, motivate them, and never write them off.

My second observation goes beyond the flash and TV highlights - it's that there are literally thousands of unsung, talented heroes who put on the performance of their lives to make this happen. All Stars (you and I have never heard of or met or seen on the TV, and never will) who stepped up in a big way for one of the biggest performances of their career. Not Drake (even though he’s doing his Ambassadorial duties beautifully well). Not the Politicians. But the businesses and employees of Toronto who drained it from downtown in their first foray into the NBA All Star Game – with extra special mention to Maple Leaf Sports + Entertainment.

  • No doubt the NBA has many play books and capabilities that MLSE can lean on, but it’s remarkable what the talented team over at MLSE did to plan and execute such as successful and bar-setting All Star Weekend.
  • Were there glitches? Likely. Was there 100% customer satisfaction? Probably not. But at the end of the day, MLSE tapped into its deep resources of operational talent and pulled off something magic: from their Event and Hospitality Teams catering to superstar parties, tastes and egos, to Executive Chefs and Restaurant Staff who needed to have the right amount of Ahi Tuna on hand to make everyone happy, to Broadcast Professionals who likely needed to deal with other processes and protocols and masters when the NBA on TNT broadcasting team came to town.
  • The talented employees from MLSE should be proud of their accomplishments this past All Star Weekend because THEY were also clutch and performed at a world-class level when it really mattered the most. Literally.

Congratulations Toronto for hosting an amazing All Star Weekend and thanks to the NBA for bringing the show to Canada.

And let’s not forget that even though the NBA and its athletes put on an All Star show, MLSE also put on an All Star performance.

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