While the NBA is in the midst of labor disputes based primarily on money and who allegedly is losing out or not making enough of it, the world goes on with stories that really matter. On the Friday night of the NBA All-Star weekend, Hennessy and 6Sports hosted an event dubbed “The Conversation” Erving Simmons Mentorship Dinner at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. The focus of this event was two fold. The first charge of the event was to honor Julius Erving (Dr. J) with the Hennessy Privilege Award which recognizes those who have contributed to the community in an exemplary manner. The second purpose of the event was to engage and have open dialogue with the attendees over a formal dinner and discuss the importance of values/integrity, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and other like topics worthy of discussion. Hip Hop pioneer and humanitarian, Russell Simmons was in attendance to present Mr. Erving with the Hennessy Privilege Award as well as participate alongside Mr. Erving in “The Conversation” dinner.
The evening began with an informal networking session that took place just outside the banquet hall of the hotel. In attendance was a diverse group of business men and women, and athletes that included Cuttino Mobley, George Lynch, and Rasual Butler to name a few.
Once the guest were politely encouraged inside, Marketing Director of Hennessy, Elisabeth Barron opened the formal part of the evening by discussing the company’s rich history, philanthropic efforts, and reason for presenting the award. What followed was the presentation of the award to Mr. Erving, who then gave a brief speech befitting of his dignified nature. Mr. Simmons then addressed the audience with words that not only informed but encouraged, setting a tone for what was to come throughout the evening.
Dinner ensued and so did the knowledge and charisma of the two men leading the dinner conversation. The two played off each other as if they were best friends and with each topic of discussion you could see audience members taking mental notes. The topics of integrity and not being afraid to fail resonate with me in particular. As if having the opportunity to hear them speak was not enough, attendees were also given a copy of Mr. Simmons’s book “Super Rich” a welcome addition to the library of anyone seeking to better themselves.
As the evening progressed Erving and Simmons continued to share lessons learned and lessons taught with the audience. A few audience members were able to ask questions regarding the topics but unfortunately time restraints did not allow for everyone in the large group to address the two legends. Fortunately, Prosportsblogging.com was able to secure an exclusive interview with Julius Erving as the guests were invited to the reception area. That interview may be viewed by clicking the link here. The event was a success and is a tribute to all those involved from Julius Erving, Russell Simmons, and the gracious people over at Hennessy who organized the event. It was a welcome change from the usual party driven atmosphere of All-Star weekend. Mr Erving and Mr. Simmons briefly discussed making the dinner a part of each All-Star weekend going forward and I can’t help but think, wouldn’t that truly be a privilege?
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com