Last weekend, NBA fans tuned in to watch the annual All-Star Game, featuring the best players in the game of basketball. The Western Conference emerged victorious, posting a 192-182 win over the Eastern Conference.
In all of the craziness surrounding All-Star weekend, a fellow Bloomsburg University student volunteered as a ball boy for the big event. Scott Cooper, a sophomore majoring in business management, shared the floor with the likes of Steph Curry, LeBron James, and celebrities like Ansel Elgort.
Cooper is from Bridgewater, N.J. Along with his studies, he plays on the club baseball team and is in the process of obtaining his Center for Leadership & Engagement (CLE) Certification.
2017 was the fourth year in a row that Cooper has volunteered for the All-Star Game. Cooper’s father has a friend who knows someone who works for the NBA. This connection was able to line up an All-Star Game ball boy position for Cooper, and the rest is history.
Since getting the gig, Cooper has done two All-Star Games in New Orleans, one in Brooklyn and one in Toronto.
Even though this is just volunteer work, the hours are long. Days can go as long as eight o’clock in the morning to midnight. The NBA All-Star Weekend includes not just the game, but the Celebrity Game, the Rising Stars Challenge, the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Diunk Contest.
Prior to the events, a lot of rehearsal has to be done. Before the games begin, Cooper and other volunteers have to get the ball racks ready and lined up. During the events, Cooper is responsible for tasks including getting players drinks and towels, mopping the floor, grabbing items from offices, and anything else that his boss asks him to do.
With an event as infamous as the All-Star Game, a lot of big names make appearances. Cooper has gotten to be around NBA players like LeBron, Curry, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kobe Bryant. Celebrities that Cooper has run into include Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, former Little League pitcher Mo’ne Davis, and Drake.
“For me, meeting Drake was probably the best experience ever,” Cooper said. “I did not think he would be okay with me asking for a picture, but he was and it was really cool.”
With being a full-time college student, Cooper intends to be an All-Star Game ball boy for the next few years. If he decides that the ball boy profession is something he would be interested in full time, an opportunity to be a ball boy for an NBA team may come up in the future.
Opportunities like the one Cooper has been given often come based on who you know. Cooper’s experience is the perfect example of why networking is important. Simple things like talking to people and establishing relationships can lead to once-in-a-lifetime jobs.