Tyreke Evans went to the NBA All-Star Jam Session during his rookie year in 2010 in Dallas, and it was a most memorable experience, he said.
“I interacted with the fans and hung out with a lot of former players, and it was just a lot of fun,” said Evans, who was a 20-year-old with the Sacramento Kings and was playing in the rising stars game. “There were a lot of games and things for the fans to do. It was a great atmosphere.”
Evans is in his first year with the Pelicans.
With the All-Star game being played in New Orleans on Feb. 16, he and teammates Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers have been selected as ambassadors for the jam session, which will run Feb. 13-16.
Evans said it’s a role he enjoys. It’s the first time the All-Star game has been in the city of the team for which he plays.
“It’s special, being that I play here,” he said. “All of the players and former players will be coming here. The fans will come to see us, and we get to hang out with the fans and sign autographs, things like that.”
The jam session, which will be at the Morial Convention Center on the river, is touted by many who have attended as the ultimate basketball amusement park. Fans will get to see the Eastern and Western Conference all-star teams practice on Feb. 15, the day before the game.
“There are so many things for the fans to do, a lot of different games and activities, with chances to win prizes,” Evans said.
He said the best part is seeing the fans meeting and interacting with legendary players up close and personal whom they’d only seen on television.
“That was the coolest part,” Evans said. “The All-Star game is for the fans.
“I know I will enjoy interacting with the kids. That’s what I’m excited about, spending time with the kids and putting a smile on their faces. It should be fun.”
As an ambassador, Evans has begun representing the team more publicly. He went on a media tour Tuesday, visiting media outlets. He said he will continue to make appearances representing the Pelicans and the NBA.
“I enjoy it, because during the season, the fans can’t really see us,” he said.
The jam session spans all-star weekend, which has many events on the court other than the All-Star game. The rising stars game features rookies and second-year players. Then there’s the skills challenge, the legends game, 3-point shooting contest and the dunk contest.
Participants are being selected in the coming days. Evans said he would participate if asked.
After he was selected the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2010, Evans appeared destined to be a future all-star. Although it hasn’t happened, he said it remains a realistic goal.
“There were a lot of changes, such as with the coaching staffs, going on that made it tough,” he said. “I think its going to come pretty soon. I have to find that knack and rhythm and not have injuries, but definitely one of my goals is to play in the All-Star game.”
Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday, who is out with a fracture right tibia, played in last year’s All-Star game as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. And Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, has been having an excellent season and merits all-star consideration, coaches have said.
Evans said that with the Pelicans hobbling through a 15-25 season, they don’t talk about playing in the All-Star game.
“We’ve had so many injuries,” he said. “We’re just trying to focus on winning games and finishing out the season.”