Though soccer and the World Cup have dominated the global sports conversation heading into the weekend, basketball enjoyed a surge of interest at the second annual BET Experience.
At the BETX Celebrity Basketball Game, fans were afforded a view of a range of athletes, musicians and actors who showcased their abilities on the hardwood.
Sponsored by a soft drink company (which also played a role in the team names), the game commanded widespread attention hours before tipoff as fans queued in a massive line slicing across the concourse at the L.A. Convention Center as the festival opened at noon.
The free event, which already included artists such as Snoop Dogg, the Game, Tyga, Omarion and Soulja Boy, featured two surprise additions: Chris Brown and Justin Bieber. Fans roared as Brown's first three-pointer fell in from beyond the arc.
Snoop Dogg established himself as another crowd favorite. "It's fun to be playing with your peers - athletes, entertainers," he said. "We all dreamed of playing basketball, so when we have a celebrity game like this we get to show off our skills. Some of us don't have skills."
Many fans around the stretched concourse seemed to be primarily set on other free events. SneakerCon drew a big crowd as a line formed outside of the L.A. Convention Center before doors opened. Whether purchasing or not, many fans strolled through and gazed at additional apparel and shoe-shining stops.
Additional free events will be offered early this evening. Omarion is set to host a dance competition, and a "Gospel Choir Showcase" follows "Music Around the Globe" on the main stage.
Outkast, A$AP Rocky and Rick Ross will close out the night with a performance at Staples Center. Unfortunately for fans, it's not free.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times