CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NBA All-Star game was one of the hottest and priciest tickets in town, costing hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
- Students from Marvin Elementary in Union County got to experience the fun of the game thanks to a generous donation.
- Co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets and founder of Alibaba gave the kids tickets after visiting the school.
- Twenty students from the Chinese immersion program and chaperons went to the game.
Students from Marvin Elementary in Union County got to experience the fun of the game thanks to a generous donation.
Joseph Tsai, co-owner of the Brooklyn Nets and founder of Alibaba, met David Smith, a fifth grader at Marvin Elementary over the summer. Smith is part of the Chinese language immersion program at the school, and was on a trip to China with the Yale men's basketball team.
"I [told Tsai] it was really educational for me to learn two languages or be bilingual, and he said that he was going to be here in Charlotte for the All-Star basketball weekend," Smith said.
Tsai's team reached out to Smith's mom, and they set up a visit during All-Star Weekend so Tsai could learn about the program, and talk to students. During the question and answer portion, a middle school student raised his hand with a question that surprised everyone.
"[He] popped up and said, 'Hey, can we have All-Star tickets?' It got a good chuckle from the rest of the group, and then we just kind of moved on from there," said Jared Worthington, the school's principal.
Friday after the assembly, Worthington got a text from Tsai's team saying he gifted the school 30 tickets for the All-Star game.
"I thought it was a prank. I thought someone had figured out my cellphone number and was trying to play a pretty bad joke," Worthington said.
Twenty students from the Chinese immersion program and chaperons went to the game. Their favorite part was seeing Kemba Walker represent the Queen City.