NBA Hall of Fame Meet & Greet coming to Naples Hilton Hotel

NBA Hall of Fame — Courtesy: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Naples All-Star Events is bringing four NBA Hall of Fame icons to Naples as part of the Legends Basketball III Meet & Greet 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 21, at the Naples Hilton.

This year’s NBA Hall of Famers include Artis Gilmore from the Chicago Bulls, Rick Barry from the Golden State Warriors, Kevin McHale from the Boston Celtics, and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, from the New York Knicks.

Tickets for the exclusive event are priced at $150 each and include light hors d’oeuvres, autographs from players, a cash bar, and a Q&A session.

The Naples All-Star Events organizers partner with the nonprofit organization “Pickup the Ball” foundation in Ft. Myers and invited young men to attend at no cost. 

The “Pickup the Ball” foundation works with high-risk, low-income young men to provide them with opportunities that will raise the bar for their expectations of life, increase their chance of success, and improve understanding among all communities. 

It all started around pickup basketball games when the organization’s founder, Ted Sottong, mentored a young man who constantly played ball. Sottong was a full-time architect when he started his endeavor, but he has been devoting himself to the nonprofit full time since 2015. The organization believes in “giving young men a hand up, not a handout.” 

Their website states, “Pickup the Ball has learned how to pick up the ball. Pickup the Ball serves these young men and women to stand in the gap in this tumultuous time in their lives. We expose them to opportunities they have not had before, and people they have not met. We broaden their base of life experience and enlarge their perspective on the world. We guide them to set themselves up for success because once they succeed, they want to succeed more. Through community interactions, we find that not only are our members affected through finding mentors, learning skills, or just making a personal connection but the community members are affected by the genuine and earnest nature of the young men and women that make up Pickup the Ball. The community sees them for who they truly are – young men and women hungry for life and an opportunity to grow and succeed.” For more information on the organization visit

Mike and Annette Byrd, who is originally from the Washington D.C. area, created Naples All-Star Events. Their mission is to bring Hall of Fame Athletes to Southwest Florida and create phenomenal events for all. “We are thrilled to have brought this program to Southwest Florida, states Mike Byrd. “Our goal has always been to bring quality high-end sports events to the area we have grown to love.”

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